Palmer Park Log Cabin
Occupying a prominent spot in Detroit's Palmer Park, the 1885 log cabin designed as a summer retreat by architects George D. Mason and Zachariah Rice for Senator Thomas W. Palmer and his wife Lizzie Merrill Palmer has been closed to the public since 1979. The building has sat boarded up and neglected for decades. With the resurgent interest in Detroit and Palmer Park, the City of Detroit turned to Mark English & Associates to evaluate the structure and make recommendations to stabilize and preserve the structure for future generations. The Phase One work began construction in the Summer of 2016, and includes structural underpinning of the foundations, installing a new cedar shingle roof and gutters, recreating the long-lost front porch, log preservation, and rebuilding of the building's substantially-deteriorated log chimneys.
The Log Cabin is a Victorian-era balloon-framed structure that is clad in Oak logs with the bark still on. The building also had window awnings made of logs, wooden pole gutters, and a log porch structure complete with built-in benches.
When Mark English & Associates first examined the building, the roof was in an advanced state of disrepair, the building's log porch structure had long ago rotted and had been removed, and the building's log chimneys were allowing weather, rodents, and insects into the structure. In addition, severe structural settlement was observed at all four corners of the building. Mark English & Associates and its structural engineer in examined the building's brick foundations to determine if they were the cause of the structural settlement that was observed, and ultimately discovered that the interior settlement was caused by a flaw in the construction of the building's underlying balloon-framed support structure.
LOG CHIMNEY REPLACEMENT
The Log Cabin's distinctive log chimney coverings disguise the building's two brick fireplace chimneys from view, giving the illusion of massive, fanciful log chimneys. The structures have already been rebuilt at least once over the course of the building's history, and have suffered tremendous deterioration from water infiltration. The restoration and stabilization efforts will completely deconstruct and rebuild the chimneys to their original configuration using new logs.