Curious to see what's behind those 132-year logs and boarded up doors? Once a year, on Log Cabin Day, People for Palmer Park (PFPP) and the City of Detroit open Palmer Park’s historic 1800s Log Cabin — which has been closed for the greater part of 40 years — for a rare tour of the only authentic log cabin in Detroit. See some of the 'modern' amenities of the day: Mrs. Palmer's treasured American Jewel stove, an indoor toilette, and Victorian-style pocket doors. The highlight for many will be the unveiling of the newly restored original stained-leaded glass windows!
Visitors at this fun-filled free family event are welcomed throughout the cabin by historians and actors dressed in period fashions as well as treated to an old-fashioned ice cream social, live music with young fiddlers, traditional blacksmith and spinning demos, hat-making with a hat and bonnet parade/contest, Civil War camp with the 102nd USCT Black History group, African American quilters, historians and actors in period attire, locally-made refreshments, and much more. It has become an annual summer event that reconnects people of all ages to early Detroit memories and history, and aspirations for Detroit’s continued revival.
The cabin is rustically covered on the exterior with trees harvested from the surrounding forest, with a Victorian-style interior designed by architects George Mason (who designed Masonic Temple) and Zachariah Rice (the two also designed Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel, the Detroit Yacht Club and many other notable buildings).
Built in 1885 by Senator Thomas Palmer and his wife Lizzie as their summer retreat, the cabin was once filled with antiques and visitors who would travel north on Woodward in horse-drawn carts. By 1897 Palmer had donated the majority of the land we know as the Park.
Past Log Cabin Day highlights:
An exhibit of quilts and demonstration of basket-making from the Detroit-area where the art of quilting in the African American community — and particularly from quilters at Detroit Unity Temple — has been passed on for generations; also, quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama, where generations of Black artists since slavery have created quilts considered to one of the most important African-American visual and cultural contributions to the history of art within the United States.
The art and Native American collection of Nora Chapa Mendoza, highly respected Chicana artist and educator, and former recipient of the Michigan Governor’s Arts Award. Her work has been exhibited and collected worldwide, from Egypt, Cuba and throughout the US;
Learn about the historic art of stained glass windows from Andrea Sevonty.Over this past year, Sevonty Restorationhas restored all the stained and leaded glass windows in the Cabin;
Old-fashioned organic popcorn from Mystic Kettle Corn, organic vegetarian specialties by the Nosh Pit Detroit food truck, and freshly grilled hotdogs and sausages from Qui Qui Edibles
CJ Forge Blacksmiths, demonstrating the ancient craft of blacksmithing and creating hand-forged works of art;
Artist Lynette Hunter Halalay will demonstrated the traditional art of spinning wool
The Wheelmen cycling throughout the park on their penny-farthings;
Actors re-enacting the roles of Senator and Mrs. Palmer;
Tours through the main floor and, for the first time the upstairs, of the Log Cabin with historians and period-attired guides;
Facepainting and Bonnet making for the kids parade
PFPP is a nonprofit 501 (C)(3) organization committed to the revitalization of Palmer Park. The group sponsors free classes for yoga and T’ai Chi, weekly bike rides, a walking group, tennis programs for children and adults, a community garden and gardening workshops, an art program (MAPP: Magic in Art at Palmer Park) and has helped to revive Little League baseball... and much more.
Palmer Park is an urban green oasis of 296 acres of lawns and historic woodlands, a Splash Park and playscape, a public golf course, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, Lake Frances, and some of the most valuable and diverse ecosystems in the state. Located between 6 and 7 Mile Roads and west of Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Palmer Park has been a treasured nature park and recreation site for more than 100 years.
Thank you to our sponsors: City of Detroit Recreation Dept., City of Detroit General Services, Quicken Loans, and Guernsey Dairy.