The Innsbrook Historical Society has begun restoring a 170-year-old homestead located just south of Alpine Dam.
Until recently, little was known about the 1840s log cabin. Research reveals the first known settlers of what is now a 40-acre section of the Innsbrook development were the Bottemuller family.
Hermann Bottemuller came to Missouri from Germany with his wife and family in the 1840s and in 1843 purchased this 40-acre section from the local land office in St. Louis. A land grant was subsequently signed and issued by the General Land Office in Washington, D.C., in 1848.
"The Innsbrook Historical Society was formed to restore and preserve historic structures and adjacent properties within the Village of Innsbrook in order to educate and deepen the understanding of the legacy of the land and its inhabitants with the hope of bringing friends and neighbors together to celebrate the Innsbrook area history in a natural recreational setting," said John Welter, chairman of the historical society.
"While all this sounds very serious, the overall intent is to have fun: meet, work and play with Innsbrook friends and neighbors."
More than 40 Innsbrook residents and friends are involved. Innsbrook Historical Society committees include land and family history; archeological investigation; local area and geographic history; building site/interior decor restoration; fundraising; and website communication.
Project Manager Wayne Edwards and his team have begun the labor of work on the cabin site.
"Our initial effort has been to deconstruct and remove the deteriorated parts of the cabin, such as the front rooms on the porch. We are now in a position to assess the condition of the stone foundation. We will start at the foundation to level it and shore it up where needed and start replacing rotted logs in the walls," Edwards said. "Rotten logs across the back of the cabin will be removed and replaced with new logs. Any logs on the ends of the house that have rot spots, usually at the corners or around windows and doors, will be replaced totally or have the decayed spots cut out and new wood spliced in place."
"All windows and doors and jambs will be replaced with period originals or reproductions. The roof is currently corrugated sheet metal. This will be replaced with shake shingles as would have been original to the cabin," Edwards said.
The site will serve as an interpretive center where visitors can learn about the history of the area, the building and the families who lived there.
Additional site structures include a smokehouse, log barn and chicken coop, many of which will be restored. Heritage plants for the garden and period furnishings are additional considerations.
Restoration efforts will focus on keeping true to the time period and providing safe and ready access for visitors.
"The site, once completed, will also contain areas to simply rest, relax or enjoy a picnic before or after a walk in the beautiful Alpine Valley," Welter said.
For more information, visit www.innsbrookhistoricalsociety.org. If you know history of the site or want to help in the restoration, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.