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Brann Cabin Restoration Underway
In his canvas hat, flowing white beard and work clothes, Restoration Specialist David Rogers looks comfortable standing next to the cabin. He hopes that when he gets the building in shape, it will be used for more than just display.
“A building longs to be used,” he said. “Otherwise it will die.”
Throughout November, Rogers will be using authentic 1900s tools and building techniques to renovate the historic Brann Cabin overlooking Smallpox Bay and the Haro Strait in what is now San Juan County Park.
The cabin, now in fragile condition, is from the homesteading period in the San Juan Islands and is possibly the only homestead on the island in its original location on public land. It was placed on the Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places in 2007.
The cabin was built in the late 1890s by Lewis Braun, who homesteaded the land, which meant he had to live on and improve the land for at least five years, said Boyd Pratt, a historical architect. Braun spent nearly a year preparing the land for cultivation, and building a barn and the cabin. During that time he lived in a shallow depression with boards and blankets.
In 1938, San Juan County’s Commissioners bought the property and the land for San Juan County Park.
Over the years the cabin has been modified, though not modernized. The county has obtained grant funds for structural and exterior work, but is seeking $25,000 in private contributions to complete the interior, finish work, landscaping and installation of interpretive displays.
To make a financial contribution to the restoration of the cabin being overseen by the Parks and Fair Department, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 378-8420.
Sponsorships are available for elements of the cabin and will be posted in the Parks Departments section of the county website.
For more info, visit the park office, Thursdays through Mondays from 11 a.m - 3 p.m. Additional information is available daily on the park kiosk near the project site.