Through the historical preservation of buildings, Berry College in Rome, Georgia has been able to keep its rich history alive. Most recently the Roosevelt Cabin, one of the oldest buildings on the main campus, has been in the final stages of restoration and preservation.
The cabin earned its name after former President Theodore Roosevelt had lunch there during his visit to Berry on Oct.
8, 1910. The next day the cabin, which was originally built in 1902, was named Roosevelt Cabin by Martha Berry.
The restoration process began about 10 years ago thanks to a donation from the Jarrett family and grants from the Georgia Department of Natural Resource’s Historical Preservation Division. According to Berry alumna Jennifer Dickey, consultant on the project and former director and curator of Historic Berry, the restoration process has included rebuilding the foundation, replacing multiple logs, a reconstruction of the roof frame, a new roof, restoring all the windows and doors, and new chinking.
Throughout the process, the use of local material has been a goal, including alumni labor to complete some of the work. The final stage is the chinking in which mud is tucked in between the logs to seal the walls. Mike Crook, owner of Mike Crook Garden and Stone, and his workers are completing this stage using a mixture of clay composed of Berry sand, quicklime, and sawdust.
Since the goal is to make the cabin as historically correct as possible, the process cannot be rushed. Crook and his team must apply three coats of the mixture to all areas in order for it to work.
Roosevelt Cabin will always serve as an integral part of the Berry campus. It has served many purposes including Martha Berry’s on campus residence for a while, overflow of the dining hall, where Martha taught Sunday school, housed part of the elementary school, alumni offices, as well as a museum.
The restoration project should be completed this summer which will allow the cabin to be used again.
The walls of Roosevelt Cabin hold countless stories and memories. “Roosevelt Cabin was the place of all places where Miss Berry was at her best,” says a plaque outside the cabin.