ALPHARETTA, Ga. — It’s been almost two years since one of Alpharetta’s most endearing relics moved across the street to a new location.
The 84-year-old historic log cabin, built by Milton High School FFA students in the depths of the Great Depression, has yet to open for tours and classes at its new site in a small city park on Milton Avenue, about a half mile west of Main Street. The cabin was relocated from its longtime site on the campus of the old Milton High School just 500 feet up the road.
Last fall, the Alpharetta and Old Milton County Historical Society hit a snag in their restoration efforts when it discovered a couple of unforeseen expenses mandated by city code.
“To finish it all off, we need right at about $50,000,” said Jim Spruell, Historical Society treasurer.
The original estimate for the relocation and some restoration work was set at $250,000. Now, it looks like the total project will run closer to $325,000.
Work on the outside foundation and a new roof is complete, and a basement has been added. The original structure has been expanded to include a 12-by-40-foot extension with two bathrooms, and the original fireplace has been rebuilt.
“I think we did well,” Spruell said. “We added almost half as much space and added a basement that doubled the old space.”
Right now, the biggest expense facing the organization is installation of a sprinkler system. Spruell said the system itself will run in the neighborhood of $10,000, but refitting the water main under the street to accommodate additional capacity will cost a lot more.
Historical Society members say they know it’s a big ask.
At the time of the relocation, the Historical Society had collected about $162,000 in donations, including $50,000 from the City of Alpharetta, a $15,000 contribution from the Convention and Visitors Bureau and $10,000 from the Ben Brady Estate. That’s in addition to the Historical Society’s own $100,000 it had accumulated from donations over the years.
It does not include a great deal of volunteer work and construction discounts offered by graduates of the old Milton High School, which closed in 2005 when a new building was opened in Milton.
Historical Society Fundraising Chair Mary Lee said a call for donations from the business community last fall got sidetracked when charitable giving turned its focus to South Georgia after Hurricane Michael.
But she’s ready to pick up where she left off. Lee is preparing flyers to hand out at downtown gatherings like the Thursday Food Truck Alley and the farmers market on Saturdays.
She’s also going to revive her efforts with the business community.
“With all the new development in the area, it’s important we remember our history, and the log cabin is part of our history,” she said.
To donate or learn more about the restoration, visit aomchs.org.
Contributions can also be sent to: Alpharetta and Old Milton County Historical Society; 1835 Old Milton Pkwy., Alpharetta, GA, 30009.