Mesquite, TX – July 1, 2021 - Historic Mesquite, Inc. (HMI) has been recognized by Preservation Dallas with a Preservation Achievement Award for the recently completed Webb Crownover Cabin Restoration at Opal Lawrence Historical Park, 711 E. Kearney Street. Considered to be one of the oldest buildings in eastern Dallas County, the circa 1845 cabin was most likely the first home of Capt. A.W. Webb and his wife, Lucinda Crownover.
Webb and Crownover, along with Crownover's parents, became the first two families to settle in the Long Creek Community, present day Sunnyvale, on Mercer Colony land about 1844. The cabin, measuring only 10'-4" X 15'-3", provided shelter for the Webbs, including at least two small children, until they were able to establish a farm and construct a more permanent home.
For years, the one-room cabin had been concealed as a farm outbuilding until it was uncovered in 1992. When the land the cabin sat upon was put up for sale, the structure was purchased by Jeannette Franklin, deconstructed and donated to the City of Mesquite in 1997 to be preserved for future generations. It was first reconstructed on the Lawrence farmstead in 2010. The second restoration in 2020, brought the cabin to a more period authentic representation. Both times, it was carefully disassembled and each component documented.
Replacement logs, used only where needed, were acquired for the restoration and were shaped using period appropriate tools and methods. Careful examination revealed mortise pockets in the sill logs, providing evidence the cabin originally had an elevated wood floor. Tool marks from “bit & brace” and hand chisel work remained clearly evident. Remnants of mortise pockets on the top sill also suggested the original roof was constructed with hewn logs and not the timber rafters and milled deck that had been installed during the 2010 reconstruction. Half-dovetail joinery was employed at the corners of the building, and mortise and tenon joinery was utilized when setting the rafter ties.
One-inch diameter oak pegs or “trunnels” were installed in the rafter framing and door framing connections. A new roof was constructed using hewn cedar rafters, nailers and western cedar shakes. Plank doors were completed with clinched cut nails and installed using hand-forged strap hinges and hardware.
“The level of research and planning that went into this latest reconstruction was outstanding,” said Toyia Pointer, Executive Director of Historic Mesquite, Inc. (HMI). “Authenticity and maintaining the historic integrity of a structure is so important for historic preservation projects. For contractor Ron Siebler and his crew, using traditional construction methods seems to be their specialty. That kind of knowledge and skill is what makes this project so successful.”
The completed restoration will ensure that the Webb Crownover cabin will endure for years to come as it serves the community. Its position within the park, as the starting point for the Lawrence Outdoor Classroom’s nature trail, illustrates the area’s past while relating environmental issues faced by resourceful early residents to today.
Founded in 1972, Preservation Dallas is dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of the area’s historic buildings, neighborhoods and places. The annual Preservation Achievement Awards honors inspiring preservation projects and people involved in preservation in the community.
Historic Mesquite, Inc.is organized for the charitable and educational purposes of identifying and preserving historic structures, identifying and securing historic designations for properties, and providing the public with the tools to navigate Mesquite history and culture.
“HMI is honored to receive this recognition from Preservation Dallas”, said Susan Cumby, Chairperson of Historic Mesquite, Inc. (HMI) “… awards like these help us raise awareness of the need to continue preserving our historic buildings and the rich history of the area.” HMI has received numerous local and statewide awards for historic preservation projects over the last 20 years.