After initially attempting to dismantle her house, owner Jane Suggs was shocked to find an almost 180-year-old log cabin buried within the walls of her home.
After examination by the Moniteau County Historical Society as well as California Mayor Rich Green, Suggs was able to keep her home and maintain the structure until she makes a decision about what to do with it moving forward.
Suggs said she was given the order to tear down her house by her bank. However, she wanted to obtain any materials that could be used for other construction projects before demolition. While stripping the panels of her house, she said she was amazed to find long cabin logs built underneath.
"The banker wanted me to tear (the house) down, but I thought if we're going to tear it down then we might as well get some 2x4 (boards) out of this," Suggs said. "When I went to go pull on the wall, I saw this log and I thought 'Oh my God.' That was during the Fourth of July weekend whenever I found it and I didn't go anywhere after that. I just stood there and ripped the walls out."
Ripping off parts of the structure that had been added on since its original construction, Suggs said she eventually found a complete cabin. She said after representatives from the city came down to inspect the property, California's mayor was not far behind. Suggs said Green told her this structure should remain and be seen by the community.
While Suggs said she would like to keep the name of her bank private, she was happy to share as much information about the cabin as she could. With the help of the Moniteau County Historical Society, Suggs and company dated the cabin back to the mid-19th century, potentially being one of the very first homes to be built in the county as well as the city of California.
After living the home since 2004, Suggs said she was amazed by this information and that she is proud to be a part of its discovery. Unfortunately, due to the cabin's lengthy history, members of the Historical Society had a difficult time pinning down the exact date the structure was built.
By examining existing property records, Moniteau County Historical Society member James Albin was able to trace several of the cabin's previous owners. While the dates of transfers range between 1887, 1915 and so on, records of the original owner — as well as the individual or group that built it — have not been found.
"(It was) part of a tract of land of 133 acres and it wasn't split up into lots until after (the 1915 owners) bought it. So who knows who built it," Albin said. "But when I looked at (the structure), from my experience with cabins, they're usually just one room — these were two big rooms. So I would say it's more like a log house (as opposed to just a cabin)."
Suggs said she was also impressed with a lot of work that was done to build the house. The architecture required for the build was still strong and kept itself together for generations of people to safely live inside of it.
While she is happy to keep the cabin, Suggs said she is more than willing to sell the property for someone else to maintain. She mentioned a potential buyer who expressed interest in acquiring the cabin so it can be moved and placed near California's post office. She said they would both like it to be displayed so it would be established as a part of California's history.