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The Woolfert Cabin

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Some say this structure could be one of the oldest buildings in the Maumee Valley. Now resting comfortably on the grounds of the 577 Foundation, this early cabin was initially built on a bluff overlooking the Maumee on Jennison's Bend, where the river curves along East River Road, less than a mile northeast of Perrysburg.

As the story goes, a pioneer named Woolfert constructed the cabin with simple tools in 1803 or 1804. The two-story house was situated in heavy timber; that same timber provided the white ash logs, held together by black walnut pegs, that make up the cabin. Mr. Woolfert built his pioneer log house as one big room—no upstairs, no windows, and a dirt floor.

Over the years, many people lived here. Victor Jennison, who settled in Perrysburg around 1818, bought the cabin in 1829. He lived in it with his wife and nine children. Reverend George Adams, a local minister, called it home in the 1870s. The Marriot family moved in sometime in the 1880s. Nine of their children were born in the home between 1885 and 1904.

In the 1930s, Reverend Adams' grandson, George Roose, and his wife Elanor moved in while building a much larger home on the property. The couple first modernized the cabin with electricity and plumbing, replaced the roof and windows, changed out the mud chinking with cement, and restored the white-painted logs to their natural look. Over the years, they made the log house into an attractive guest home with all the modern amenities. A modest upper level was added to create one large room for sleeping, a kitchenette was built downstairs, and the fireplace was rebuilt with brick.

One of the last tenants of the log home was John Eikost. As the Roose Family prepared to sell the property in the mid-'90s, they had a large estate sale. John paid a visit and inquired about the cabin. Based on conversations with the realtor, he arranged a deal where he could rent the extraordinary home with the understanding that he would have to find a new place to live when the property was sold. John recalls that living in the cabin was rustic, but it still had modern amenities, such as electricity, running water, and solid modern windows—things inside were in decent shape. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about the chinking between the logs, as John remembers finding multiple small holes that exposed the inside of the historic cabin to the outside elements. The summer months were sultry, and the winter months were bitter cold, but it was all worth it, in John's opinion. As he likes to say when recalling those windy winter nights, "Who could resist a once in a lifetime residence with so much history?"

In the spring of 1995, the log home was owned by Gayla Owen, whose grandfather, George Davis, was born in the cabin many years before. Gayla offered to donate the historic structure to Virginia Secor Stranahan and the recently-created 577 Foundation. Stranahan gladly accepted, saying, "We feel it is an important part of Perrysburg history and hope by having it here it will provide opportunities for the public to be exposed to early Wood County history."

The move from Jennison's Bend to the 577 Foundation took approximately two and a half hours. Virginia Stranahan led the caravan in her golf cart down a bustling state route. She was followed by police cars and an enormous flatbed truck pulling the log house. When it arrived at 577, the log house was placed on a new foundation to match its footprint of 26 feet by 28 feet. Then the staff and volunteers restored it to be closer to its original form. The kitchenette was removed, and the brick fireplace was replaced with flagstone. Community members donated antique furnishings circa the 1850s.

There have been many tales told about this cabin over the years. We'll never know which ones are true. Some say the home was used as the backdrop for an old black and white cowboy film entitled "You Can Never Tell." Others will tell you the cabin had a role in a secret bootlegging operation during Prohibition. Some swear the place is haunted. None of these stories are surprising when you consider how long this home has stood and provided shelter to local families.

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