The Forestburgh Log Cabin, constructed circa the 1790s, is one of the earliest structures built in Sullivan County, New York. The Forestburgh town website notes that the cabin was once owned by Abe Cuddeback. A primitive school was functioning at the cabin prior to the town of Forestburgh being established.
For many years the cabin was undetected as it was covered up by a later period structure. The cabin was discovered in the summer of 1982 when the recently purchased home was being renovated. As one wing of the house, known as the old Theimer place, was being removed, the cabin logs were found under the clapboards. The cabin was subsequently purchased by the town and moved to its current location in 1987. The cabin was preserved through the combined efforts of the Town, Sullivan County and Federal resources as well as generous private individuals and groups.
The year 1987, when the cabin was moved, was particularly important as it represented the 150th anniversary of the town of Forestburgh being established. Forestburgh was established on May 2, 1837 from sections of the towns of Mamakating and Thompson. Early industries included lumbering, dairying, tanning and quarrying.
Elsie Winterberger (1910-1992), historian for the Town of Forestburgh, played a pivotal role in managing the dismantling, moving and then reconstruction of the cabin at its new location. She organized various fundraisers, including raffles and stitching a commemorative quilt, in order to purchase antiques for the cabin. Winterberger notably served as town historian for 18 years until her passing in 1992. She was also the author of the well-read “Forestburgh Lore” column published in the Sullivan County Democrat and other local publications in which she shared her stories of regional history. In 2012 Winterberger was honored by the Sullivan County Historical Society with its History Preserver award.
A sign at the Forestburgh cabin notes that famous author Stephen Crane (1871-1900), while residing with his brother Edmund at the nearby hamlet of Hartwood, “was inspired to create” his Sullivan County Sketches (1891); The Red Badge of Courage (1895); and The Third Violet (1896). The Red Badge of Courage, a novel about the Civil War, follows soldier Henry Fleming as he finds the courage to fight in battle. It is considered a classic American novel.
The lake near Edmund Crane’s home is now called Stephen Crane’s Pond, a name which “comes from an unpublished fragment of a letter by E. B. Crane: ‘My brother and I think that the little lake that has never up to now been dignified on any map by a name should henceforth be called Stephen Crane’s Pond.’” (Sorrentino, Paul. Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014. p. 402.)
The Forestburgh Log Cabin is now located at Forestburgh Town Hall, which is situated on King Road, off of Route 42 South. The original Town Hall building, which was located on the north side of County Route 48 near its intersection with Carpenter Road, was constructed in 1895, but was destroyed by fire in 1928. On the same site, and using the same plans, an exact replica of the original town hall building was constructed in 1929, which was used until 1980. This building still survives, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today’s Town Hall building, dedicated in 1980, was designed to meet the needs of a modern local government. The building contains a courtroom, a supervisor’s office, an assessor’s office and the clerk’s office. In addition to the cabin, the property is also home to a swimming pool and a children’s play area.