BY KEN LITTLE
The 1787 Babb log home housed generations of a Greene County pioneer family, and preparations are under way to allow the public to experience the homestead first-hand.
The property in Fox Park surrounding the log home is also headed for extensive landscaping work.
Finishing touches to the Babb homestead and the park property surrounding it should be complete by late spring 2014, according to Daniel Babb, family genealogist and director of the Babb Preservation Fund.
"With reconstruction of the structure virtually complete, the Babb Family Association will be turning over the homestead to the Greene Museum and Park Association. to construct a chimney and redevelop the surrounding park," Babb said.
The 22-foot-by-24-foot homestead is on permanent loan to the Nathanael Greene Museum.
The Greene Museum and Park Association is working cooperatively with the Babb Family Association to oversee completion of the log home renovation and landscaping of the property.
Babb, of Dallas, and other family members were in town over the weekend to get updated on work at the log home, which was rebuilt at the Fox Park site off McKee and South Main streets, diagonally across South Main from the Nathanael Greene Museum.
Members of the Babb Family Association inspected the ongoing work at the log home on Friday, then met Saturday with the Greene Museum and Park Association to discuss upcoming work on the log home and improvements to the property.
The next step in restoring the homestead is construction of a chimney.
Work on doors, windows and interior walls should be complete soon, Babb said. The stairs to the second level will also be shored up.
"We hope to get it done by spring," Babb said.
"It's been a dream of ours for almost 10 years. It's taken longer than expected, and I'm so excited it's almost finished."
LANDSCAPE PLAN UNVEILED
Daniel Babb said a draft version of the park landscape design was presented at the meeting on Saturday.
"My favorite feature is the combination steps and ramp that provides a necessary transition to go from the parking lot to the field. This will allow for a much gentler grade on the field and allow for its use as a place for events and weddings," Babb said.
Earl Fletcher, museum executive director, said the log home will be the perfect complement to the Nathanel Greene Museum.
"This is almost a satellite to the museum," he said. "I'm real proud of the Babb family and this house."
'FATHER BORN IN HOUSE'
Lynn Babb, of Wilson, N.C., who was among family members visiting Greeneville on Friday, said his father was born in the house.
Babb's wife, Dacie Quillen Babb, went to the former Greeneville High School at the site of the current Nathanael Greene Museum.
"It's a beautiful layout," she said of the planned landscaping to surround the log home, which brims with history.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR VET
The two-story log house was built in 1787 by Revolutionary War veteran Seth Babb Sr.
It was located along the present-day Kingsport Highway, about a half-mile from the Newmansville Crossroads. The homestead was in use for more than 100 years, until a larger house was built next door in 1896 by Seth Babb's descendants.
The original structure continued to be used for other purposes, including as a barn.
During a 2004 Babb family reunion in Greeneville, family members toured the 18th-century structure, which was still standing, and made plans to dismantle and preserve it.
MOVED TO FOX PARK
In 2006, the homestead was carefully disassembled, with the logs marked for later reassembly.
It was in storage until November 2011, when the walls were put in place at the current location in Fox Park.
The homestead has gradually taken shape in its original form.
"It is virtually finished. It just needs to be tidied up," Daniel Babb said.
"I can't wait until it is open to the public and everybody can see how beautiful it is."