Stop 1 - Log Cabin
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Old log cabin

Log cabin in the 1930s, northeast view.

Historic log cabin
Historic photo of the cabin and lily pond, southwest view.

Log cabin today front view
The log cabin today, front view.

Lily pond
Lily pond.

Small pond
Small pond and bird drip.

Sightings board
Sightings board on the cabin porch near the restroom.

Stop 1 vicinity

Stop 1 vicinity and directions to the next stop.

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Things to do at this stop:

  • Walk around the porches of the log cabin. Look inside if it is open.
  • The bird and wildlife sighting board is on the south porch.
  • The lily pond and small pond are just south of the porch.

This may seem to be a strange way to begin a nature tour, but to appreciate our sanctuary's nature one needs to understand a bit of its history. The cabin was built (1931-32) by Edith Moore's husband Jesse, aided by her nephew and some hired hands. You can find the name JES in mortar on the front steps.

Structurally, the building is a log house, but everyone refers to it as the cabin.

The house consisted of a large room with a fireplace, a smaller bedroom, a kitchen, a small loft room, a tiny bath, and a screened porch on the east and south sides. Mrs. Moore lived in this cabin for forty-two years until her death, March 22, 1975. Remodeling completed in 1988 divided the kitchen into a foyer with a new door facing the parking lot, and a restroom retaining the former kitchen door. A new porch was added on the west side and, in 1993, a large teaching and activities deck on the north.

The house was built of approximately 100 very straight, uniform pine logs cut from the actual building site. A count of tree rings from a log removed during remodelling suggests the pine grove was about 58 years old when cut, having sprouted from seed about 1873. Because pines commonly are pioneer plants that reclaim disturbed land, this suggests the property may have been a homestead abandoned shortly after the Civil War.

The Moores derived their income from a sawmill, processing timber cut from the property (which was much more extensive then than it is now) and from dairy cattle pastured on the cleared land. The sawmill was removed after the great flood of December, 1935 when the Moores were taken by boat from the cabin's porch roof, but the dairy farming continued. Most of the trees in the sanctuary have grown as the forest once again reclaimed the pasture land after the sawmill was abandoned.

Edith was very fond of water lilies. Jesse installed a lily pond just outside her kitchen door, ringed around with recycled curbstones from downtown Houston when Milam Street was being raised. The cabin's fireplace was constructed of the same material. Today, children enjoy dipping in that pond to catch mosquito fish, bullfrog tadpoles, and aquatic insects. In summer, duckweed, a fast-growing aquatic plant, may cover much of the pond surface.

To your left is a smaller pond and a bird drip. And beyond that is Audubon's native plant nursery, providing hard to find prairie plants for restoration projects. On the cabin porch nearby is the visitor's restroom and a bird-wildlife sightings board.

Directions to the next stop:

  • Walk towards the parking lot.
  • The bird and butterfly garden is just west of the cabin porch.
  • The visitor kiosk is north of the flower garden path.

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