When members of Paul Davis Restoration looked behind the blue siding of the old hotel and revealed a log cabin underneath, a gasp could be heard from the crowd. By Tuesday afternoon, a two-story cabin twice the expected size was revealed.
“This cabin hidden inside the Green Hotel has been a legend in Cave Spring for as long as I can remember,” said Peggy Allgood, president of the Cave Spring Historical Society.
The structure is believed to have been built by the Cherokee Indians around 1830, said Kerry Hix, a cabin restoration expert. Hix has been in the antique log cabin business for more than 30 years, and has restored over 300 cabins. He says it is rare to find a two-story structure like the one in Cave Spring.
“It’s a mystery. When you take cabins apart you don’t know what you’re gonna find, what it’s gonna teach you,” Hix stated.
Hix said the cabin was in excellent condition and any damage is localized and easy to repair.
The true date of construction won’t be determined until Hix can enter the cabin and look at indicators including the construction style and materials used. An entrance date has not been set.
The historical society hopes to preserve the old cabin using either grant funding or donations, said Allgood.
Considering the cabin is attached to the old hotel, with new wings and a roof attached in the 1920’s, onsite restoration might prove tricky, said Dianna Edwards Haney, a member of The Green Hotel/Log Cabin Committee. Haney said the committee’s plan is to extract the cabin from the surrounding structure and remove it in numbered pieces.
“Things changed once we realized the size. It’s bigger than we thought and it will have a larger footprint. We are going to have to regroup for a minute and come up with new plans,” she said.
The biggest question now is one of cost. The historical society is prepared to purchase the property from its current owner William Benefield who purchased the property two years ago, Haney said.
The decision to remove the outside siding came after a piece of siding buckled and the cabin underneath was revealed.
“We couldn’t believe what we were seeing and that it was true,” said Winnie Morrow.
Morrow was one of the first residents to see the exposed logs, and was instrumental in moving the project forward.
The historical society convinced the owner to allow them to remove siding at their own expense.
“We are walking on cloud nine,” Morrow said.
For the citizens of Cave Spring, Tuesday’s revelation was a long-awaited thrill.
“It is amazing,” said Betty Lue Smith. “This thing has been here in Cave Spring this whole time. It is so exciting.”
Smith said she lived in the Green Hotel with her husband and three children in 1971.
“We had no idea what was there,” she said.
Ann Montgomery, a life-long resident of Cave Spring, said she has been talking about the hidden cabin since she was a little girl.
“When I was growing up I always heard about the log cabin. This is great, especially finding out that it’s probably as old as we thought it was.”