Pioneer Village

3000 E. Oregon Church Road

Sixteen authentic log cabins, a working gristmill, log barn, and covered bridge are showcased in an 1840s-era village setting.  The village is located on the northeast side of the park.  The Village Folk, a volunteer group, are present in the village every third weekend in the summer and during the Pancake Breakfast, Pioneer Days, and the Christmas Walk. The village is also frequently used as a setting for school tours, weddings, reunions and other special occasions.

The Woods Cabin once stood on U.S. government grant land in what was known as the town of Lockport, now known as Riley.  It is believed to have been constructed in 1822 on land deeded to John Jackson.  Used as a home, the log cabin's appearance was greatly altered over the year by various owners.  Not until the home was being wrecked was the intact log cabin discovered.  The cabin was donated by the children of Dan and Iva Wood whose parents had lived in the home for 46 years and was reconstructed in the park in 1970 by the American Federation of Teachers, Local 734.

The Irishman's Bridge is the last covered bridge left standing in Vigo County.  It originally was located approximately three and one-half miles southwest of Mt. Pleasant Church on Ferre Road spanning Honey Creek in Riley Township.  The bridge was built in 1845 for the total cost of $135.21.  It is 18 feet wide and 80 feet long.  Its superstructure is heavy oak and poplar with steel reinforcement rods.  Irishman's Bridge was moved to Fowler Park in 1971 with the aid of funds raised by the Girl Scouts, Vigo County Historical Society, employees of Columbian Enameling and Stamping Company, and area residents.

The Lidster Cabin was originally on the same farmland site in Riley as the Woods Cabin.  It was also built in the early 1800s on land deeded to John Jackson from a U.S. land grant.  The Lidster Cabin is thought to be the oldest cabin in the village.  Plugged openings in the east wall indicate that guns were once laid in the openings and fired as needed for protection from people and animals.  As Indians were peaceful in this area by 1822, this cabin was most likely built prior to that time.  Ben Lidster donated the cabin.  The Terre Haute Jaycees and park department employees dismantled the cabin in 1973 and moved it to Fowler Park.

The Peker Cabin was originally located in Sugar Creek Township on Certain Road, about one mile from the Wabash River and two miles south of West Terre Haute.  The cabin was built in, or about, 1834.  In 1974, the cabin was donated by the Peker family and was dismantled and reconstructed in the village by park staff.

The Graber Cabin was built on land in Bogard Township, Daviess County.  The land was purchased from the U.S. government in 1839 by John Grooms of Ohio.  The cabin was built in the mid 1800s as a home.  Mr. Graber who purchased and later donated the cabin discovered the cabin when he tore away the back portion of his home.  Originally, the cabin had two stories, no windows, and most likely a dirt floor.  Some of the logs were not salvageable when the cabin was reconstructed so the height has been reduced with a half loft and windows added.  The doorway was quite low giving the impression the original owners were probably short in stature.  The Graber Cabin was rebuilt in the village in 1975.

The Trading Post, originally a home, came from the Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area in Daviess County.  It had been moved into a small town and sat on a creek.  The Trading Post was dismantled by park staff and reconstructed in the village in 1975.

The Farm Animal Barn  was formerly the Gillooly building that once stood on the west end of the lake in the Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area in Daviess County.  It had been a barn that had been abandoned. Park staff rebuilt the barn into a blacksmith shop in 1975.  In 2008, the building was converted into a farm animal barn.

The Log Barn originally stood in Vermillion County just west of the small town of St. Bernice.  It was used for both horses and cattle and loose hay storage.  The barn is thought to have been built in the early or mid 1800s.  It had no chinking as it was believed that air should pass through to keep animals healthy.   The barn was dismantled and reconstructed in 1976 as a bank barn with a meeting room and kitchen on the lower floor.  In 1996, the barn was enlarged to twice its size on the lower level, and a gift shop was added above the meeting room facilities. In 2001, the barn was named C & M Fox's Barn in honor of Conrad and Marie Fox, long-time pioneer village volunteers.

The Smokehouse was rebuilt in 1978  from the remains of a log home located east of Fontanet in Nevins Township, Vigo County.

The Carpenter Shop once stood approximately three miles southeast of Brazil.  It had been used as a home and as a barn.  It was donated to the park department by Daisy Huggs and reconstructed as a carpenter shop in the village in 1980.

The Church/School is a combination of two log buildings.  The first was a log cabin built by John Adam Ell in 1848 in the middle of 80 acres of land east of Staunton.  One-third of the logs had rotted so they were replaced with logs from a log barn that had been located in Sullivan County.  The Church/School was donated by Don Mercer in 1986.  The logs from the log barn were also donated.  Both were dismantled by park staff and reconstructed into a church/school in the village.  Staff added a fireplace with built-in oven and a full loft.

The Fur Cabin once stood in Newberry, Daviess County, and was used as a feed room.  A barn had been built around the cabin.  The cabin had never been used as a home.   This cabin possesses an unusual feature; a cane maker's frame was bored into a couple of the logs.  The cabin was donated by Ray Malone.  It was reconstructed in the village in 1987.  A fireplace and loft were added at that time.

The Gristmill was not an original building, but is authentic to the time period.  The design was based on information obtained from 1818 books.  Dr. Kicklighter, prior Dean of the I.S.U. School of Technology, spearheaded the effort with assistance from his department as a community project.  Stone donated from the remains of the Preston House, which was built in 1822, was used for the sluice base and outfall channel.  Weston Paper donated poplar logs that were hand-hewn by Keith Ruble, Park Superintendent.  The gristmill was built as a total wooden geared facility with a water-powered overshot wheel.  Corn and wheat were first ground in the mill on October 4, 1991.

The Cochran Cabin was originally located northeast of Poland in Jackson Township, Owen County.  Jane and Campbell Cochran purchased the land from the U.S. government and were recorded as the first white settlers in northern Owen County.  They built the cabin in 1825-26 and continued living there until their deaths in 1888 and 1889.  The cabin was donated by Gordon Spelbring and reconstructed in the village by park staff in 1995.  Cochran Cabin has two levels, with one room above the other accessed by a wooden staircase.

The Bennet Cabin - Doc's Vet Office is a combination of two cabins originally located near Marshall, Illinois, off of Highway 1, north of Interstate 70.  The cabin was built on land that was part of an 1836 land grant from the U.S. government to Sexton and Tabitha Mount.  Bennet Cabin was built sometime between  1837 and 1858 when the property was sold.  The cabin was donated by Harley Bennet in 1995 and reconstructed by park staff in the village as the Potter's Shop.  It later became Doc's Vet Office.

The Dog-Trot Cabins are two cabins connected by a breezeway.  The Loom House, which houses a loom and spinning wheel, was constructed of new poplar logs hand-hewn by Keith Ruble, Park Superintendent.  The second cabin is a composite of logs from a number of cabins.  These cabins were originally located at Hawthorn Mine south of Dugger; Marshall, Illinois; Paxton and Shelburn.  This cabin possesses a unique fireplace of early American design with a wood fired oven to the right of the fireplace.
The Conley Blacksmith Shop is built from tulip-yellow poplar logs that were donated by J.A. Sears.  The logs were hand-hewn by Keith Ruble. Construction of the building was completed in 2008.  Five forges - one primitive, three coal, and one gas - demonstrate the progression from the early hand powered bellows to the modern gas forge.
Lauras Cabin was originally located in the Goose Pond area south of Linton in Greene County.  It dates between 1830 and 1840.  The two-story cabin had a more recent house built around it.  The outer house was dismantled to reveal the original cabin.  Joyce Lakey purchased the cabin from Larry Cornelius and donated it to the park department in 2007 in memory of her deceased daughter, son, and granddaughter.  Park staff reconstructed the two-story cabin in 2008.

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