In March 2020, the Historic District Commission rejected a request to demolish the old cabin at the Historical Museum. The building, dating to 1889, was what Eureka Springs herbalist, folklorist, historian and Ozark Writers-Artists Guild founder Cora Pinkley Call used as her writing cabin. Last week, that topic returned to the agenda, and commissioners demonstrated more sympathy for the project.
Jeff Danos said he became museum director about five months ago, inheriting a difficult situation which quickly became worse. The cabin was already in very bad condition, and a tree fell on it shortly after Danos’s arrival. He said the tree destroyed the roof and one of the walls.
When the HDC considered the demolition request last year, Building Inspector Bobby Ray had written a letter describing the property as a safety hazard. Danos described the continuing deterioration of the cabin and said the museum does not have the money to repair or maintain the cabin. He also noted that the cabin was located where runoff water coming down the hillside channeled directly into the structure.
Danos said the logs at the bottom of the walls have rotted badly, and the only contractor he could find to consider the project estimated a cost of $80,000 or more.
Commissioners had asked about possible grants to pay the cost, but the building has been moved several times, and has already been partially rebuilt.
The commissioners said the museum would have to apply for a demolition permit, and then come back after assessing the still-usable parts of the cabin. Some commissioners suggested an open-air pavilion on that site, using the fireplace and whatever other materials remain after salvage.