Fire destroys historic Howard cabin

September 24, 2001|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A pre-dawn fire destroyed a three-century-old log cabin yesterday in what Howard County preservationists consider a significant blow to local historic preservation efforts.

The blaze at 6 a.m. claimed the cabin, which after more than a decade of rotting in an Elkridge park was on the way to restoration.

The fire in Rockburn Branch Park was quickly extinguished, but the cause was unknown, said Howard County Fire Capt. Gary Jones. He said the state was investigating. No injuries were reported and the cabin was empty, he said.

Fire officials estimated the loss at $200,000, due largely to the structure's historic value, but preservationists consider the loss incalculable.

"I am so sick to my stomach," said Mary Catherine Cochran, president of Preservation Howard County. "It is a significant, significant loss. I can't believe it."

The original section is believed to date to between 1696 and 1710, with a later room and loft likely completed about 1845.

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