An Athabascan Indian, Johnny Parks, built the cabin, and many others in the area, during the early 60s. He was a short man, who built short walls, and short door frames. The Gaedes on the Eighty have never been tall people, but barely 6 foot outer walls and even lower door frames gave everyone a head-knocker or two!
Naomi's mother, Ruby Gaede named the cabin "Elisha's Inn," after the story in I Kings 4:8-10, where a couple built a small room for Elisha to stay in when he came through their country.
For the homestead cabin Open House, Ruby Gaede sketched a rendering of the cabin on the invitation:
Open House at
October 27, 1963
2:00 - 5:00 pm
This image is now used as the with-in chapter dividers in Prescription for Finding Home in Alaska.
Since 1963, the Gaede-Eighty homestead cabin has been a landmark for the Gaede family and many others who have made sojourned there. In the fall of 2005, a fire started in the basement. The interior was burned, water-damaged, and/or charred. Given that the logs served as the interior and exterior of the building, this piece of history is no longer inhabitable.
Burned in 2005
Demolition of Cabin
After much deliberation, exploration of options, changes in plans, and gasps at demolition and construction costs, Naomi and her siblings decided to demolish the old structure. Parting with this landmark and family history seemed unbearable. On August 2, 2007, the cabin was demolished.
Then the thought of saving a section of the cabin popped into Naomi's head! The original bedroom at one end was the least damaged. But, would it be unscathed during the demolition AN D relocated to the side of the cabin site? Shawn Holly of River City Construction and Bill Hill of Oilfield Hot Shot Service put their heads and expertise together. Yes, it was possible, but they didn't know if it would hold together after being cut loose from the mid-section or if the floor would be strong enough to support the walls and roof while being moved.
On August 6, 2007, the bedroom-turned-mini-cabin was lifted off its foundation and successfully dragged to a corner of the cabin lot!
The remaining hole was cleaned up and prepared for the foundation.
In the fall of 2007, construction began on the new cabin. The design was much like the first one, with a bedroom on each side of the main section, 860 square feet, and a low pitch trapper-style roofline. As much as nostalgia influences decision, there were changes: eight-foot walls, a full-size basement, and operable windows.
In the spring of 2008, Naomi discovered 4-6 inches of water in the basement! Construction was halted to deal with this most distressing and disappointing dilemma. In June, the long process of re-construction began.
On July 7, 2009, Naomi found the main floor of the cabin suitable for living — electricity, appliances, running water. Water problems continued in the mechanical room. These were deemed as a "rain forest" cycle of condensation from the extremely cold Alaskan well water.
Naomi, Kenya, Patti, and Mark on the porch
Mark and Kenya on the Roof of the "Mini-Cabin"
During this time, the salvaged bedroom of the original cabin, which is now referred to as "the mini-cabin," was winterized to protect it until restoration is possible.
Finally, in the fall of 2009, the cabin was sided and looked like a "real" cabin! The basement finish will wait until there is proof it will remain dry!