A Cabin’s Tale Virtual Tour
The Cabin of Lumbermen’s Retreat
Lake Burton, Georgia
I’m so very pleased to have an opportunity to tell you my story, so let me introduce myself. I’m an old log cabin in north Georgia, fortunate enough to have spent my years beside beautiful Lake Burton, nestled into the gentle folds of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m about 100 years old and there’s not a thing that’s square or level about me anymore; my floors slope, daylight streaks through cracks in my walls, my tin roof has been known to spring a leak, and without air conditionin’ I can get awful hot inside. Even so, I can see from the looks of newcomers that I still have some charm to those that have a love for old things like me.
I’ve been loved and cared for by the Methvin-Jones family since 1921 – that’s 90 years and countin’! They’ve been awful good to me, but as we all know, life is nothing if not about change, and the season for my caretaking is turning. So, please indulge me with a bit of my story.
There’ve been tales of who first put these timbers of mine together, who stacked the river stones of my fireplace and chimney, and exactly how long ago all that happened. Some said I was built just before the turn of the 20th century by Native Americans settled in these parts for awhile. I guess everyone has a right to go to the grave with a secret or two, so I’ll claim mine and let legend have its way.
Secrets aside, it’s a sure thing that Mr. William F. Methvin, Sr. (“Mr. Billy”), a lumberman of Atlanta, Georgia, saw fit to set me up as a cabin for him and his lumbermen fishing buddies right about the time the Tallulah River was dammed up. Back about 1920, Georgia Power engineers decided the mountain folks of North Georgia needed more electricity so they started putting in dams and buying up most of the land along the river so they could turn around and lease lots out to private owners in order to pay for what they were doin’. Well, the water backed all the way up to a little town of Burton, Georgia, so they decided to name the topmost lake, Lake Burton, honorin’ the town and all those families that gave up their homes and businesses for progress.
I’m quite proud to say that I sit on land that was one of the first 2 leases offered by Georgia Power. In 1921, Mr. Billy and nine of his lumbermen-buddies signed for the 3-acre lot I sit on. You can see now why the property got the name “Lumbermen’s Retreat.” The name stuck and I can see it was a good name, ‘cause everyone who has since been here has found a good bit of a retreat from whatever was creatin’ worry for ‘em at the time.
I’ve seen things change a lot over the years. Back in the early days, Mr. Billy would take his Model T Ford over to Clayton and strap on a big ‘ole block of ice to bring back to keep food cold. And I’ve seen Mr. Billy’s children, grandchildren, and even his great-grandchildren learn to swim, ski, ride on inner tubes behind boats, shoot off fireworks in the back yard, and laugh till their sides hurt while playing card games on the front porch. There’ve been breakfast platters loaded down with eggs, bacon, and toast, followed by lunch fixin’s that’d make your mouth water just to think about! And if that weren’t enough, I’ve seen ‘em come back holding their bellies after eating family style fried chicken dinners at LaPrade’s or Laurel Lodge. One thing for sure, there’s been a lot of playin’, eatin,’ laughin’, and storytellin’ through all these years I’ve been witness to.
But back to Mr. Billy and how things got to where they are now….
Mr. Billy passed away in 1946, and his son, William F. Methvin, Jr. (“Uncle Billy”) took over his part of the lease ownership. Uncle Billy went on to buy out the rest of the lease owners in 1958. Uncle Billy and his wife, the beautiful Mary Blanche Hyde of Sparta, Georgia (“Aunt Mary Blanche”) took good care of me for over 30 years. They saw to it that I had “all the modern conveniences” added on. In plain language, they replaced the outhouse with indoor plumbing, added on a kitchen, plus a few more rooms. Well, that really did get me into the 20th century so I could enjoy a few more years of family living.
While I was under their care, Uncle Billy and Aunt Mary Blanche were generous with me and shared me well with his sister, Jane Methvin Jones, her husband Tom, and their three children. Well, those Joneses took on a special affection for me – especially Miss Jane, who put her decoratin’ skills to work to give me some real charm. And, boy did she put Mr. Tom to work on all kinds of projects to fix me up. Mr. Tom could fix about near anything; and what he couldn’t fix, he would pass on to Mr. Perry Shook or his son, Len Shook, who’ve been seeing about me since the days of Mr. Billy, Sr. So, it was just natural that Uncle Billy and Aunt Mary Blanche gave me to “Mama Jane” and “Daddy Tom” after they passed.
But truth is, the real part of my story is not so much about these worn out old timber-bones (they like to call me “rustic”), but the magnificent piece of land that I’ve been proud to stand on, right next to the purest lake water that God ever thought about. Now, there’s a story!!! I’ve been a grateful companion to this beautiful piece of God’s green earth, set beside the crystal clear water of Lake Burton. And even when my day is done, the story of the land I’m on and the water that comes up to it will live on. I’ve listened and heard ‘em tell of how that water’s as soft as a baby’s bottom and as clear as what you’d find in some faraway place near the equator. I’ve seen how that view of Charlie Mountain always gives some kinda comfort to the one lookin’. The dark nights show off the most brilliant star shine you’ve ever seen; and when the moon is full, well it just takes your breath away. And on some of those moon-lit nights, I’ve for sure seen some bare-bottoms out there in the water to go along with some of the silliest laughin’ you ever heard!
Well, they say all good things come to an end, and I see it’s time for me to be handed on to the next family that’ll have me. I reckon they’ll be the ones to decide if there’s cause to keep me goin’ or just put me to my final rest. I see a lot of sad eyes lookin’ my way, but memories keep the love alive, and I’m just as grateful as I can be to have shared a piece of my history with Mr. Billy and his descendants for all these years. I may be replaced by some beautiful, new, elegant mansion, but I know I’ll never be forgotten by the ones that have tended to me for quite some time now. For them I have this message . . .memories of our time together, the view of Charlie Mountain, and the feel of that soft water, are right where you need ‘em. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath . . . . . and there it all is . . . . inside of you forever.
And for the rest of you, if my story has some appeal to you, then maybe you could stop by and see if we might have an affection for each other!
The Cabin of Lumbermen’s Retreat