SAVING HISTORY: 'New regime' hopes to repair Nancy Hanks Cabin

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
The Nancy Hanks cabin, slated to be torn down in 2015, is now being  targeted for repair by the current Homeowner's Association. It sits on property owned by the Nancy Hanks Farm HOA.

ANTIOCH - In 2015, the cabin that sits on the site believed to be where Abraham Lincoln’s mother was born was slated to be torn down.

Today, six years later, the new officers of the Nancy Hanks Homeowners Association are planning an open house Saturday to spur interest in restoring the historic cabin.

HOA president Jacqueline Bogart says the “new regime” at the Nancy Hanks Farm subdivision, where the cabin is located, believes in the importance of preserving the cabin, which has become an historic icon for Mineral County.

“The board prior to us was dead set against this; if it was up to them, the cabin would have been destroyed,” she said this week as she and fellow supporter Tim Miller met the News Tribune at the cabin.

“I think it’s an historic site. It’s been researched. This might not be the exact spot where she was born, but it’s in the area,” she said.

Jacqueline Bogart, current HOA president, purchased this spinning wheel to replace the one that had been stolen from the cabin.

The cabin that sits on the site was actually located elsewhere in Mineral County, but was moved to its current location in the 1960s, and has served as a reminder since then that the mother of the nation’s 16th President was born in Mineral County.

A prior Homeowner’s Association board did, indeed, admit it’s intention to raze the cabin in 2015, citing liability and the inconvenience of having people come to their subdivision to see the historic site. When their intentions were brought to light by a series of stories in the News Tribune, however, one of the residents at the time who did not agree with the board tried to save it, and even held meetings inviting those who hoped to save the cabin to brainstorm ideas.

And while those ideas didn’t get too far, neither did the HOA’s plan to raze the cabin.

When Bogart purchased her home and moved to the Nancy Hanks Farm subdivision two to three years ago, she realized something needed to be done with the cabin to preserve it.

“If it’s not taken care of, some of it’s going to fall down on its own,” she said, noting that the bricks in the floor need repaired, as well as the roof.

She also realizes, however, that money to fund those repairs is going to be an issue.

Explaining that the Homeowners Association only has $13,000 from dues  to work with every year, she says that money is to go toward road repair and other needs at the subdivision - needs which she says have been previously ignored.

“The roads are atrocious,” she said, adding that some work has been done, but there is much left to do.

“So this,” she says, pointing to the cabin, “is going to have to survive on donations alone.”

And so now it is Bogart’s turn to call a meeting for those interested in saving the cabin.

She is in the process of sending out letters to anyone she can think of who might be interested in helping come up with ideas to help ensure the future of the Mineral County landmark.

“I’m trying to write people I know who might have an interest in helping us,” she said. “I don’t mean physically getting out here with a hammer and nails; we need financial help. We need help procuring building materials and labor … just anything that anybody can think of,” she said.

Bogart has therefore set up a meeting for Saturday, June 5, at 10:30 a.m. in the community building at the subdivision.

This monument to Nancy Hanks, mother of Abraham Lincoln, sits across the road from the cabin.

“We’re starting from scratch and we need advice in all aspects of the project,” she says in the letter. “The cabin is in dire need of repair, from the brick/concrete floor to the roof.”

There is also a memorial to Nancy Hanks located across the road from the cabin, but it remains in good shape. In fact, according to Bogart, another subdivision resident recently came out and cleaned it letter-by-letter.

Miller, who noticed there was a flag pole but no flag on the site, painted the pole and “now we fly the flag,” he said.

Bogart even purchased a spinning wheel to replace the one that had been stolen from the cabin.

And while the subdivision gate remains closed for now, three parking spaces have been designated outside the gate where visitors can park their vehicles and walk in to see the cabin.

“In the past week alone, we’ve had people from North Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois here to see it,” Miller said.

Bogart says the days of fighting over the future of the cabin are over.

At one time, she says, when a resident complained about people being at the cabin, that person called the HOA president at the time and the president called the sheriff.

“The sheriff came and threw everybody out,” Bogart said.

“That person would not get the same response from me,” she adds.

Anyone who wishes to check out the cabin can do so during their open house Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Bogart also hopes they will go a little farther up Nancy Hanks Drive to the community building, where residents will be holding a fund raiser yard sale.

“It’s a start,” she says.