Sappington House is raising money to move and preserve Joseph Sappington’s log house; needs city’s OK

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Photo by Esley Hamilton

A black-and-white photo submitted in the 1980s to the National Register of Historic Places of the Joseph Sappington Cabin.

Under a plan up for discussion at the Crestwood Board of Aldermen next week, the city might move a historic log house to Historic Sappington House, where it would be preserved for future generations.

In what Historic Sappington House in Crestwood is calling an “unparalleled opportunity,” the new owner of the Joseph Sappington house, a log cabin built in 1816, Jim Freund, has offered the building to the city on the condition that the city relocate it. It is proposed to move the two-story log house from 10734 Clearwater Drive in Affton to Historic Sappington House Park, 1015 S. Sappington Road in Crestwood by an Aug. 1 deadline.

The Crestwood Parks and Recreation Board recommended the relocation Feb. 16, and the Board of Aldermen will take up the issue at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 during a videoconferenced meeting held on Zoom.

The Sappington House Foundation, conservators for 55 years, said in a news release that it is “committed to partner with the city to preserve another piece of St. Louis history before it is lost.”

The Joseph Sappington house is on the agenda for Crestwood’s meeting as a discussion, with no ordinance attached. The Call has contacted the city to see whether a final decision would be made at that meeting.

The Sappington cousins’ houses offer a contrast from the current Sappington House Museum which showcases the historic home of Thomas Sappington.

Thomas’ brick house, almost a mansion in its day, contrasts with Joseph’s traditional log house in exceptional condition. The log cabin “would provide another setting where history can come to life, engaging school children and life-long learners alike. The log house fits into the comprehensive 15-year plan by providing extra educational, event and exhibit spaces, instead of constructing a modern structure as previously proposed,” the Sappington House said in the release.

For more information about the Joseph Sappington House, read the National Register of Historic Places form with photos of the interior when scrolled to the end at  https://dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/82000589.pdf

See the photos in a gallery below.

To make its case for preserving the log cabin, the Sappington House quoted a longtime Daniel Boone Village interpreter, William Ray, who said, “Everyone who sees hand hewn logs has a transformative experience. They understand we are not just talking about history, but about people like themselves who built homes and lives for their families during trying times.”

Repurposing this historic building makes sense due to its architecture, but also financially, the Sappington House said, noting that “Crestwood is a relatively recent St. Louis suburb, but it is blessed with a storied history. Long before Route 66 came through, the prominent Sappington family came and settled here over 200 years ago. The Thomas Sappington House Museum is judged to be the oldest brick home in St. Louis County and it is a significant asset to the City. Adding the log home of Joseph will double the attraction value of Historic Sappington House and stimulate an upsurge in Crestwood visitors and volunteers.”

Fundraising for the $200,000 required for Phase 1 has begun at GoFundMe. Phase 1 includes the relocation of the log house onto a new foundation and includes any repairs necessitated by the move. Later in Phase 2, fundraising will be initiated to prepare the log house to serve the public. Offers of in-kind services and supplies will be also welcomed.

Sappington Park with the Thomas Sappington brick museum, The Barn restaurant, the Library of Americana and Decorative Arts and the Loft Gift Shop will be enhanced by the addition of the log home of cousin Joseph Sappington, which Sappington House said “will further connect us to the historical and cultural past, enriching our lives today.”

See the photos submitted to list the Joseph Sappington House on the National Register of Historic Places below.