Restored, Century-Old Cabins in Western Virginia Stay True to Their Roots
A major renovation is transforming 36 nearly century-old log cabins in western Virginia, while ensuring visitors are still fully immersed in their history.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the cabins have long served overnight visitors to Douthat and Fairy Stone state parks. Though beloved, they required upgrades, so the state asked PMA Architecture of Newport News, Virginia, to do just that. The first phase of the $13.5 million project (which also included renovations of some non-historic cabins) was completed in April of 2023, and several cabins are already open. Work on the remaining structures should finish early in 2024, says Greg Holzgrefe, project manager at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The completed cabins’ exteriors appear unchanged—PMA replaced rotted logs and repaired damage to stone porches, says Akshar Patel, an architectural designer at the firm. Alterations are minimal: PMA modernized the kitchens and bathrooms, and updated the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. New bathroom floor tiles resemble tiles from the 1930s. The team also exposed historic interior elements such as stone fireplaces and log walls that were obscured by previous renovations.
“The fact that the state was willing to put the resources into preserving these cabins and updating them [so] the general public can experience that history was important to us,” Patel says.