Broken Arrow Log Cabin

Location: Oklahoma
Services: Construction Management | Design
Size: 125,000sq/ft
Owner: Business Owner/Co

Preserving History with TLC (The Log Cabin)

In the fall of 2006, Magnum Construction Inc. was approached by Broken Arrow Historical Society Board Member Dick Zwart, to discuss preserving an irreplaceable piece of history. The project consisted of cautiously dismantling, storing and reconstructing a one hundred and seventy year old log cabin. The log cabin was built in 1836 by Napoleon Bonaparte Childers. It later became home to Napoleon’s grandson, prominent Creek Nation Native American, the late Lt. Col. Ernest Childers. The highly revered Lieutenant Colonel was one of five American Indians to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, the highest military award for valor. Lt. Col. Ernest Childers has been honored in many ways but the preservation of his boyhood home is one of the most unique. The cabin was purchased by Bill Darnell at the Persimmon Hollow auction and generously donated to the Broken Arrow Historical Society.

Magnum Construction was on board. Deconstruction had to be skillfully planned as each log (weighing anywhere from 175 to 475 lbs.) as well as each stone of the cabin’s chimney, had to be carefully removed and numbered for the reconstruction which took place almost two years after the disassembly. A numbering system was devised by Magnum’s Ernest Redwine and Broken Arrow Historical Society Board Member Dick Zwart. Photos of the cabin were taken from every angle inside and out. Then each log and stone in the photos was numbered. The diagram very much resembled a “paint by number” kit. This information became the “was builts” as an alternative to the “as builts” as stated by Superintendent of deconstruction, Chris Corum.

With a meticulous plan in place, Magnum’s crew was ready to begin. After a safety refresher concerning the not so obvious threats lurking in the shadows, such as spiders and other venomous creatures, the deconstruction commenced. The tedious job of hand sawing the nails and chinking with no use of crowbars to preserve the condition of the antique logs, proved worth the intricate effort. A forklift carefully lifted the logs down, each one receiving a stamped metal plate to indicate the log’s position within the cabin. With great precision and organization, the crew was able to complete the disassembly within just two weeks. At that time they moved all the cabin pieces to three secure storage spaces large enough to accommodate the twenty-one foot logs and the many pallets of stone, to be stored until the completion of the new historical museum. Even locating the storage space for the disassembled cabin proved to be a challenging effort until business owner Bob Cacy of Lynn Lane Self Storage agreed to donate the space.

Fast forward to 2008 – the near completion of the Broken Arrow Historical Museum was Magnum’s green light to complete the cabin project. Each piece of the cabin disassembled almost two years earlier, was taken from storage to be placed on the second floor gallery of the museum. The Museum had each log spray coated with a fire retardant to preserve and protect the cabin. After necessary means of preservation were taken, Magnum’s crew, led by reconstruction Superintendent Robert Schrader, began the assiduous and time consuming job of lifting and maneuvering each log and stone through a second story opening only six feet wide. This was accomplished using a lift, patience, and very slow, steady hands. Referring to the “was builts” each piece of the cabin was reconstructed with great care and vigilance.

After 1,419.5 man hours, the Childers log cabin now proudly stands in its new home, exactly as it stood one hundred and seventy-two years ago. Allowing future generations the opportunity to visit and appreciate the significance of the historic homestead. The cabin’s age combined with its miraculous condition makes it a great addition to the historical museum. Add the cabin’s Native American history and that it belonged to Broken Arrows most celebrated veteran, claims its space as the “crown jewel” of the Broken Arrow Historical Museum. It was such an honor for Magnum to be a part of this preservation of American history.


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