A mere 100 feet from the Preserve’s historic stone arch bridge stands our historic log cabin, situated on the edge of the hill that overlooks beautiful Pidcock Creek. Built in 1935 by the same agencies that constructed the bridge—the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters and the Washington Crossing Park Commission, with the assistance of workers from two federal programs: the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA)—the cabin was the original gatehouse for the Preserve and features American chestnut logs harvested from the Preserve’s property. This is significant in that the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was largely wiped out in North America in the 20th century by a fungal disease known as chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica).
In January 2021, a team of staff and volunteers cleaned out the cabin after decades of being used as a storage area for material that had outlived its usefulness—including outdated institutional records, education supplies and furniture. “We hope to make some long-overdue repairs in order to make it available for educational programming and interpretation,” said Pete Couchman, the Preserve’s executive director who participated in the cleanup. “It would be a shame keep such a beautiful building and important part of the history of the Preserve and the American forest from our community and visitors.”
On July 18, 2022, thanks to generous grant support from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation, the Preserve took its first steps to reopen the cabin to the public by launching the Cabin-Classroom Project, one of our most transformative projects dedicated to expanding educational capacity. The Preserve plans to restore the cabin and create an adjacent “outdoor classroom” that will serve as a central hub for educational and interpretive programming, special events, community gatherings and more.
As this project synergizes the important work of both preservation and innovation to foster education and interpretation, it realizes the Preserve’s goals to utilize its unique resources, provoke curiosity, promote visitation and meaningfully connect the community to native plants through our beautiful Bucks County site and our accessible, interactive education offerings.
The Preserve has assembled a committee to oversee the design phase of this collaborative project, including industry experts Robinson Anderson Summers Landscape Architects and Archer & Buchanan Architecture. The official kickoff meeting for the assessment and design of the cabin and classroom was commemorated with a group photo.
The Preserve will be sharing news as the Cabin-Classroom Project progresses, and a capital campaign for the construction phase of the project will be announced soon. Please check back for important updates!