If you’d like to see some satisfying before and after pictures of house renovations, look no further! Except these houses are from the early 1900s, and the renovations consist of restoring and preserving them as part of a project on a federally recognized historic landscape.
In 2016 and 2017, Nevada Conservation Corps and HistoriCorps teamed up to help preserve these log cabins at Johnson Lake in Great Basin National Park. This area used to be a tungsten mining district and likely played a role in World War 1 by providing ore to be turned into alloy steel for weapons, radios, and tanks. Following the war, a snow slide hit the high elevation mine, halting production and causing it to be abandoned. Artifacts and pieces of equipment were sent to other mines or picked up by collectors over the years while the cabins began deteriorating.
With HistoriCorps to train and guide them, NCC crews learned how to fell trees, cut them to appropriate lengths, and use traditional hand tools to prepare new logs to replace irreparable ones, as well as stabilize leaning cabins and replace roofing. Under National Park Service management, the Johnson Lake Historic Mining District will be protected, and thanks to HistoriCorps and NCC, the remaining cabins are restored and preserved for those in the future looking to learn more about the past.
It was a great experience for all of us here at Great Basin National Park to work with Historicorps and the NCC crews on the Johnson Cabins project. Historicorps brought a wealth of skill and training for the NCC crew. Not everyone can put “building log cabins” on their summer work resume’. Thanks NCC for a job well done!! Eva Jensen, Cultural Resource Program Manager, Great Basin National Park.