Group aims to raise $25K to restore historic Palmer Park log cabin

stained-glass-ppWith a little more than a month remaining in its crowdfunding campaign, an effort to raise $25,000 to fix the stained and leaded glass windows in the log cabin in Detroit’s historic Palmer Park is less than $6,000 shy of its goal.

The nonprofit group People For Palmer Park is raising the money through a Patronicity campaign. Reaching the $25,000 goal would trigger a $25,000 match from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The group also held a fundraiser event in August.

Restoring the 21 stained and leaded glass windows and 13 glass windows is only part of the organization’s cabin restoration project, which aims to eventually make full repairs to the log cabin, built in 1887 as the former farm and summer retreat for U.S. Sen. Thomas Witherell Palmer and his wife, Lizzie Merrill Palmer.

palmer-park-log-cabin-postcardThe log cabin has been closed and decaying since 1979, but People For Palmer Park in 2012 began working on improvements, including evicting vermin, cleaning and winterizing the cabin.

The group has opened the log cabin to the public each June since then to celebrate Michigan Log Cabin Day. Its goal is to eventually convert it into a community gathering space.

“PFPP’s initial goal is to restore the original stained glass windows on the first floor, which we estimate will cost between $50-75,000,” the group explains on its website. “In addition, there is still a lot of work to be done including: restoring the chimneys; fixing and refinishing all interior woodwork, floors, doors, stairway; fixing historic pocket doors; interior plaster and painting; rebuilding the historic kitchen; and much more. There are no lighting fixtures, no electricity, and no running water or heat.”


People For Palmer Park incorporated in 2011 to help make improvements to the 300-acre park, which borders Woodward Avenue between Seven Mile and McNichols. The group has helped fix up tennis courts and win funding to build a splash pad and a new playground, among other upgrades. (You can read a piece I wrote about the park and the group’s efforts in 2013 in HOUR Detroit.)

Long a seedy place with a reputation for crime, drugs and prostitution, the park today is the site of a summer tennis academy, little league baseball games and regular parks programming from People For Palmer Park.

Palmer, a real estate and timber baron who also served as U.S. Ambassador to Spain, donated the cabin and much of his property to the city in 1893 on condition that it be used as a public park and the adjacent virgin forest be preserved.

The Patronicity campaign ends Oct. 28.

Photo via jasonwoodhead23

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