The following description is taken directly from the statement of historical significance in the official application for UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES INVENTORY — NOMINATION FORM FOR FEDERAL PROPERTIES.
The Gamlin Cabin is a one-room log cabin built in 1872 and located approximately 200 feet northwest of the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park. The single room measures 24.5 feet by 18 feet. The very distinctive walls are made of hand-hewn squared timbers; each log averages about 7 inches thick and 1 foot, 3 inches high. The walls are -without chinking as they were designed to fit together closely at the time of construction. The logs are held together by corner notches and rest directly on the ground. Two doors open through the front of the cabin while windows pass through each side. The rear wall has a masonry fireplace built into it. The cabin is roofed with extremely large shakes resting on a frame of poles. The cabin has a dirt floor and no interior finishing.
Gamlin Cabin Interior
The building has been moved twice and restored after the second move. This restoration in 1933-1934 was done with the cooperation -of Thomas Gamlin brother of the cabin’s builder Israel Gamlin. Thomas Gamlin helped locate the exact original location of the cabin so that it could be rebuilt there. Both the current roof and the fireplace date from this 1933-1934 work. Their historical accuracy is problematical as no photographs showing the original configuration of the structure have yet been located. Every attempt was made in 1933-1934 to return the cabin to its original state.
The setting of the cabin has changed considerably since the l870’s. The most obvious change is the removal of the corrals which probably surrounded the original cabin. Today the area is developed for tourist use with asphalt nature trails and interpretive displays. Despite these changes, the cabin retains a high degree of integrity.
As the first building erected within the Grant Grove of the Giant Sequoias, the Gamlin Cabin is of local significance in the fields of exploration/settlement, In its function as storage building for the cavalry troops which guarded General Grant National Park from 1891 through 1901 and as residence for the first civilian park ranger in General Grant National Park during the years 1902-1915+, the cabin is of local significance in the field of conservation.
Gamlin Cabin Interior Roof
The distinctive, hand-hewn logs which make up the walls of the cabin also make it of local architectural significance as an example of a rare type of pioneer construction.
The Gamlin Cabin was erected in l8?2 by Israel Gamlin, a Hew Englander who had taken a squatter’s claim on the Grant Grove of the Big Trees. (Israel’s brother. Thomas, may have assisted in the construction of the cabin, but later generations of Gamlins have given conflicting testimony on this matter.) Israel Gamlin brought stock into the forest and developed-a primitive road to the grove over which he apparently removed posts and shakes cut from fallen giant sequoias. He also provided hospitality and supplies to visitors who braved the mountain roads and trails hoping to see the Big Trees.
Several years after Gamlin had established his claim, Grant Grove was surveyed by the General Land Office of the Federal government. The field surveyor noted the exceptional scenic value of the grove and recommended that it be preserved as a public park. On his own initiative the surveyor struck-an agreement with Gamlin in which Gamlin relinquished all claims to the Grant Grove in return for timber lands elsewhere. Gamlin kept his part of the bargain and abandoned his cabin. The government never supplied Gamlin with other lands, however, and Gamlin eventually traveled to Idaho in search of unclaimed timberlands.
The movement to make Grant Grove a public park languished until 1890 when General Grant National Park was established. The following summer, U.S. Army troops were sent to the new reservation to protect the Big Trees. The cavalry troops soon appropriated the abandoned Gamlin Cabin for use as a feed storage shed. In 1892 soldiers dismantled the cabin and moved it, one log at a time, to a new site about 2/3 mile southeast of its original location near the General Grant Tree. The soldiers used the cabin for grain storage until they were replaced in 1902 by L. L. Davis, the first civilian park ranger of General Grant National Park. Davis cleaned out the old cabin and it became his residence. The cabin served as the General Grant National Park ranger cabin until after 1915.
Gamlin Cabin Sign
When the cabin was finally replaced, by a more modern ranger station, it reverted to its older role as storage building, A falling tree during the winter of 1931-1932 landed on a corner of the structure and destroyed the roof. The age of the building made its repair difficult, so plans were made to dismantle it. Several residents of nearby communities objected to the destruction of the old cabin, however, so General Grant National Park Superintendent John R. White agreed to have the cabin moved back to its original site near the General Grant Tree and restored. The cabin was dismantled and moved home in the fall of 1932 with the help of volunteer labor. Volunteers returned again in 1933 to add a new roof and restore the fireplace, Since 1933 the Gamlin Cabin has stood near the base of the General Grant Tree as a reminder of the early history of the district.
Feet in Elevation
Stars out of 5
QWhen did the Gamlin Cabin become listed in the National Register of Historical Places
The Gamlin Cabin in Fresno County, California, reference number 77000123, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the Keeper of the National Register on 03/08/1977, as evidenced by FEDERAL
REGISTER/WEEKLY LIST notice of Tuesday, February 6, 1979, Part II, Vol. 44, No. 26, page 7429.