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This article first appeared in the December 23, 2016 issue of the The Low Down to Hull and Back News.External Link Reprinted with permission. Search complete list of Low Down Articles.

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A big move for a cabin and for history

By Ben Bulmer

It's about protecting history and doing it with the help of some pretty heavy machinery.

Danford Lake cottager Stephen Markey decided to preserve a piece of local history and renovate a homestead dating back a century and a half. If that wasn't a big enough task, he had to move it before he could even begin.

"It was just a chance to protect and bring a little bit of history into our life," said Markey.

Left: Steve Roe and Rick Merrifield help out with moving the 165 year old cabin to a property at Danford Lake. The one and a half kilometre journey took the whole day. Photo courtesy Stephen Markey.

The piece of history in question is a hand-hewn log cabin built by the Andersons, one of the earliest European families to settle in the Danford Lake area. Markey has been going to Danford Lake since he was a child in the 1950s and spent most of his summers there. Now retired, he's splitting his time between his cottage at Danford Lake and Ottawa. He says he'd known about the cabin for a long long time and now it sits on his land.

"I approached Kevin Lee, who is a descendent of the Andersons," said Markey. "I was anxious to [renovate] a building and he was anxious not see to see his family's heritage deteriorate anymore."

An agreement was made and all that needed doing now was moving the cabin 1.5 kilometres from Lee's land to Markey's lakeside property.

"It was a little bit like a boot in mud," he said. "It just wouldn't come out."

Normal protocol is to take the building apart, but Markey figured he could do it another way. With help and plenty of ideas provided by friend and Danford Lake resident Wayne Tanner, three large diggers, two tonnes of wooden supports, and a whole day to travel 1,500 metres, the cabin had a new home.

"It was a long mile," said Markey. He admits there were a few moments when he thought it was more than he'd bargained for, but in the end, the 17 by 19 feet two storey log cabin successfully made the journey.

"It's not just about moving the building, it's about the local history," he said, "[and] it's about the municipality of Kazabazua and the town of Danford Corners."

Now Markey will start the long process of converting the cabin back into a liveable space, which he says will not happen any time soon.

Although the cabin was still habitable until the 1970s, the floor needs rebuilding, says Markey, and "it's been occupied by a pretty strange bunch of animals."

He thinks it'll take at least two to three years, and although he's excited about the renovation, the cabin is, after all, 165 years old. "I might be in for more trouble than I thought."