The Alaska Association for Historic Preservation on Tuesday released its list of the state’s 10 most endangered historic properties for 2014.
If you’ve ever been to Talkeetna, you’ve probably passed right by an unassuming, old log cabin on the corner of one of the town’s busiest intersections. Over the past 80 years, that cabin has come to be known as the 3 German Bachelors Cabin.
That’s where I meet Sue Deyoe, the museum manager for the Talkeetna Historical Society.
She says Tony and Henry Meise and Frank Moennikes built the cabin in the 1930s and worked mining claims near Cache Creek.
Deyoe says the building is significant largely because of how it was built and how well it has stood the test of time.
“How much longer is it gonna be able to keep on going in the fashion that it is?” Deyoe said. “It is a true miners and trappers cabin; there aren’t that many left in Alaska that are this well preserved.”
If the building’s deterioration isn’t put in check soon, Deyoe worries the 3 German Bachelors Cabin might fall beyond repair…or as she characterizes it, “go extinct,” as has happened with similar properties in the area.
She hopes it has a better shot at survival now that it’s one of the state’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Properties for 2014.
The list, from the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation, allows the Talkeetna Historical Society to apply for a small grant – no more than $5,000 – from the Association.
Allegra Hamer with the association says even though the grant can help get preservation efforts moving, its larger purpose is to raise awareness.
“By focusing attention on them, the properties themselves can often leverage other funding: government, state, or private funding,” Hamer said. “Which enables them to be preserved.”
The Talkeetna Historical Society leases the cabin from the Alaska Railroad because it sits on Railroad property.
To offset costs, the Historical Society sublets the space when it can.
Dora Miller is using the cabin this year as a gallery for her photography business, Aurora Dora. She agrees the cabin needs some work, but she loves the space and wants to keep it open year-round if possible.
“I love Talkeetna, it’s where I’m part of it. And this cabin is a great spot,” Miller said. “You know, I’m right here. It’s Main Street and Spur Road. I’m by the welcome to the beautiful downtown Talkeetna sign.”
Despite periodic attempts at upkeep, a lot of work still needs to be done. Especially with the chinking, electric, and the floor – which slopes noticeably to one side of the cabin.
Sue Deyoe says some changes have been made to the cabin over the last several decades, like adding a deck and replacing the roof, but the vast majority of the construction is still original.
“You can see how the log cabin is created, with common, these lap-notched corners,” Deyoe said. “That’s significant in that it doesn’t, they don’t do that this way anymore.”
The endangered properties list also includes the Fort William H. Seward Barracks Building in Haines, Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theatre, and other endangered properties in Kake, McCarthy, Cordova, and Willow.