For 125 years, while the Motor City grew up around it, and then slowly began to empty, the Log Cabin at Palmer Park stood sentry.
On Sunday, for only the second time in 30 years, Detroiters from near and far were allowed inside to explore the city's only remaining log cabin, said to combine pastoral simplicity with all the modern amenities one of the city's power couples could buy in 1885.
Senator Thomas Palmer dreamed up the log cabin for his wife, Lizzie -- a rustic hideaway on the farmland he kept as a destination from the hectic, growing city. He later donated the cabin, 140 acres of lush greenspace and a man-made lake to the city of Detroit in the 1890s. The city's grateful residents later dubbed it "Palmer Park."
On Michigan's 26th Log Cabin Day, the group People for Palmer Park teamed up with the City of Detroit to once again open the cabin's doors, while raising money to restore the building's roof. Ultimately, they want to turn the 127-year-old cabin into a community center, a role it served during the 1960s before it was closed due to a lack of city funding.
Detroit historian Amy Elliott Bragg has more on the log cabin here. Check it out yourself in the slideshow below.
The Thomas W. Palmer Log Cabin was built in 1885 as a summer home for Sen. Thomas Palmer and his wife Lizzie Merrill Palmer.
Hundreds attended Sunday's outing in Palmer Park.
Amy Elliott Bragg, author of "Hidden History of Detroit," gives a spirited talk on the the country hideaway of Sen. Thomas and Lizzie Merrill Palmer. Before building the cabin as a gift to his wife, Sen. Palmer kept livestock and an orchard on the property.
A thoughtful husband, Bragg says Sen. Palmer had architects design the cabin to his wife's specifications -- a convenient summer getaway and entertaining venue.
The People For Palmer Park, who organized Sunday's open gathering with the City of Detroit, ultimately want to use the cabin as a community center. It was previously a neighborhood community locale in the 1960s.
t was only the second time in the last 30 years that members of the public had been allowed to walk inside the cabin ... though, certainly, the face-painting, square-dancing and ice cream didn't hurt the turnout!
The Palmers donated the 140-acre property, including the cabin, to the city of Detroit in 1893. Sen. Palmer stipulated that the land be used as a public park with protection provided by the city's police force. They also agreed not to touch the property's stand of virgin trees.
These are probably the trees ol' Sen. Palmer was talking about.
The Thomas W. Palmer Log Cabin, designed by George D. Mason and Zachariah Rice, was completed in 1887.
Stained glass windows open up to a view of the lake and lighthouse.
This was a modern bathroom in 1887, featuring a "composting toilet." You could call the Palmers early environmentalists.
The cabin's interior is flanked by two brick fireplaces.
The Log Cabin at Palmer Park was closed to the park in 1979. People of Palmer Park are fundraising to reopen the building, after renovations, to the public.
The City of Detroit gave the Detroit Historical Museum most of the cabin's artifacts to store when it closed due to lack of funding in 1979. The house's massive stove still waits in the kitchen.
The cabin's staircase was carved from oak.
The log cabin is located at Second Avenue and Merrill Plaisance in Detroit's Palmer Park. Find out more about the history at <a href="http://historicdetroit.org/building/log-cabin-at-palmer-park/">Historicdetroit.org</a>