Log Cabin project part of Presidio restoration plans

In a rehabilitation project that would make Abe Lincoln proud, a historic log cabin in the Presidio is slated to be meticulously repaired this fall.

To restore the 72-year-old cabin, a team of engineers and carpenters dug up 50 local Monterey cypress trees — the same kind of wood used by the Army when the structure was first built — to replace a set of aging logs that make up the cabin’s exterior.

All the cypress trees were located from nearby Julius Kahn playground as part of a reforestation project in 2007, according to Dana Polk of the Presidio Trust, the agency in charge of the former military base.

Along with carefully replacing the logs of the building, which is located on Storey Avenue, a team of carpenters stained the new wood to replicate the original feel of the structure, and rehabilitated the material that binds the logs, Polk said. Formerly a commissioned officers’ building, the log cabin now acts as a special events center.

The work on the cabin began in June, and is expected to be completely finished by November. With the upgrades, the Presidio Trust is hoping the cabin will last another 70 years.

The rustic log cabin isn’t the only historic building in the Presidio getting a facelift. Two former army barracks have recently benefitted from extensive rehabilitation work, according to Polk.

One of the buildings, a 107-year-old structure that used to house cavalry soldiers, is slated to be completely upgraded by January. Improvement work to the other building, a former nurses’ quarters, wrapped up last month.

Both buildings will now become commercial office space, and both are set to be certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

In October, the newly refurbished Walt Disney Museum will open up on the historic Main Post, after undergoing a similar rehabilitation process to improve its environmental standing while retaining its unique antique façade. That project is part of the Presidio Trust’s ambitious overhaul for the Main Post, which includes proposals to erect a motel and a cultural center.

Last fiscal year, the Presidio Trust received $17 million in federal subsidies, but it must be completely self-sufficient by 2013. The organization, founded in 1996 when the federal government decommissioned the Army post and turned the area into a national park, plans on generating almost all of its operating budget by leasing out commercial and residential buildings on the property.

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