The Caleb Carr House, an 18th-century log cabin home, is on property… (Courtesy photo, Bethany…)
A log cabin home that dates back to 1790 and is now owned by Bethany Community Church has been nearly restored and the project was unveiled to the community last month.
The cabin, known as the Caleb Carr House and named after its original owner, was part of 24 acres of land donated to Bethany Community Church in the 1990s by the sons of the late James Smith, James Smith II and Winslow Smith.
As part of their donation, James and Winslow Smith required that the church restore the cabin.
James Smith was a dentist who had a practice in College Park and he bought the property in the 1940s as his country home.
Smith and his family would spend time at this country farm rather than live in the downtown area by his practice, according to the Rev. Kevin McGhee, senior pastor of Bethany Community Church
Smith's 44 acres also had a barn on it, 20 yards away from the Caleb Carr House. The barn, ordered from the Sears and Roebuck catalog, was built by Smith and his two sons and is still standing.
McGhee said when the church received the land, the log cabin was wrapped up and ready to fall down.
In restoring the cabin, the church has put in a new foundation, roof, windows and doors and new chinking between the logs.
"We replaced the fireplace and chimney. The fireplace will be wrapped in natural stone, so once it's done it will look like it did originally," McGhee said.
A large portion of the work was done by Allen Cochran of Cochran Stone Masonry and Timberframing, who specializes in historic preservation.
Volunteers from the church also played a role in the restoration of the cabin by cleaning, painting and landscaping the grounds.
The restoration of Caleb Carr House, funded in part by the Maryland Historic Trust, was years in the making and was supposed to have been completed earlier, but McGhee said that once the restoration began they realized there was more to it.
"It's taken a long time partly because some of the work has been done by volunteers and we found out along the way there was extra work that needed to be done," McGhee said.
Some of the work that still needs to be done includes finishing the interior and building a staircase.
"We are getting near the end of the grant work, so we are hoping to get all the interior done between now and next spring," McGhee said.
McGhee is hoping that by next spring, Caleb Carr House will have a ribbon-cutting rededication. He said his church members are excited about the restoration and are trying to decide what to do with the log cabin when it is completed.
"We just don't know fully how we are going to use it, but we all really like it," McGhee said.