Crestwood aldermen will again consider proposal to relocate cabin


Photo by Esley Hamilton

In this December 1979 black-and-white photo submitted in the 1980s to the National Register of Historic Places, the view of the house is seen from the southeast.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Joseph Sappington Log Cabin could still make its home in Crestwood after all when the Crestwood Board of Aldermen considers an ordinance at its upcoming meeting Tuesday to authorize the cabin’s move to the city. 

The Board of Aldermen will consider Sept. 14 whether or not to reimburse up to $125,000 toward the cabin’s move as well as to permit the nonprofit Sappington House Foundation to assemble the cabin on the Thomas Sappington Historic Site in Crestwood. 

The board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 at Crestwood City Hall, 1 Detjen Drive. 

A portion of the reimbursement amount – $25,000 – is set aside for utility relocations. For the city to reimburse the remaining $100,000 to the Sappington House Foundation, the cabin must be dismantled, relocated and rebuilt by Nov. 30, 2022. 

The vote Tuesday is another chapter in a story that has been playing out since March when cabin owner Jim Freund first offered to donate the cabin to the city if it would cover the moving costs. The 1816 cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

In May, the city went out to bid for contractors to disassemble and move the cabin from its present location in Affton, 10734 Clearwater Drive, to the Thomas Sappington Historic Site, 105 S. Sappington Road. The park’s centerpiece is a brick home built in 1808 by Thomas Sappington, a cousin of Joseph Sappington. 

Bids were originally scheduled to only stay open for two weeks until the end of May, but the bidding window was extended through the end of June when no bids were returned to the city by the first deadline. Only one bid was ultimately returned to the city from Kirkwood-based Antique Logs Unlimited for $475,000 to fully disassemble, relocate and reassemble the two-story log structure.

The city rejected the bid as too high, citing other expenses not accounted for in the bid price, such as landscaping. No public meeting was held to discuss the bid. 

The foundation, which manages the Thomas Sappington park, has raised several thousand dollars toward the cabin’s move and contributed $26,000 in April for the city to conduct a study about what it would take to move the cabin in the first place.

The foundation reached out to Antique Logs Unlimited, who said they would be willing to work with the foundation to move the structure with appropriate authorization from the city. While the foundation operates independently, the Historic Thomas Sappington Site complex is owned by the city and has a cooperative relationship via city ordinance with the foundation to operate and maintain the site. 

Under an arrangement between the foundation and Antique Logs, the foundation would pay for the disassembly and storage of the cabin, giving the foundation additional time to raise funds for the remaining relocation and reassembly of the structure. 

The proposed agreement stresses that the city would not contribute anything more than $125,000 to the project unless utility relocation costs exceed $50,000, in which event the city and foundation would split the cost evenly. 

The foundation would also be responsible for all future repairs and maintenance of the cabin and have agreed to pay a higher rent per the lease agreement with the city, although details were still be negotiated at press time.