Farr West house to be demolished was built around pioneer cabin

Apr 30 2012 - 6:03am

FARR WEST -- A Top of Utah man who started to demolish what he thought was a frame house discovered it was built around a pioneer-era log cabin.

Now, Randy Chambers plans to restore the cabin, which a history sleuth determined was built by an ancestor of his in the 1860s.

The cabin is a piece of history that Chambers decided he will keep.

Workers discovered the larger frame house was built around the log cabin after tearing down wallboard and finding more walls of hand-hewn logs.

The heavy logs were hidden from the outside by siding and additions.

The start of demolition also revealed an odd feature of the century-old frame house. It had two front doors.

What started out as a demolition has now turned into a mission by Chambers to preserve a piece of history.

He wanted to demolish the frame house adjoining his office to make space for a storage yard.

But as contractors started ripping out the plasterboard, they found more walls of a log cabin -- and immediately recognized that demolition was going to be a much tougher job.

At first, "I thought it was a liability -- because we didn't know how sturdy it was," Chambers said.

He began to wonder who built the cabin and when, and enlisted some help from somebody who collects property records and local history.

"That's the only log cabin I know of in existence in this town," said Farr West historian Brian Taylor.

Taylor believes the cabin was built around 1868. But what he found next was more remarkable.

"It's a miracle," Taylor said. "There's just a series of miracles here."

The original owner, Leonidas Alfred Pritchett, just happens to be Randy Chambers' great-great-great-grandfather.

"I just wish the walls could talk so we could learn a little bit more about what happened," Chambers said.

In the early 1900s the new owners of the cabin decided it wasn't big enough. So they built a larger frame house around it.

Chambers says building a frame house around a log cabin isn't a good idea, "but I'm sure glad they did it."

It preserved a piece of history he now plans to restore, despite the expense.

It's just something Chambers says he has to do to preserve a family relic.

"There are just way too many coincidences," he said of the discovery.

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