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Historic Cormorant cabin moved to Rollag

The old cabin was moved past the old Cormorant church steeple and also the new church in the background on its way to Rollag.

A piece of history was moved June 9. One that will be restored and on display for all to tour.

Don and Laurine Kounovsky moved their log cabin from Cormorant to Rollag in hopes of preserving history.

"It's the best preservation of history spot I could find," Don Kounovsky said.

The log cabin is one of the first of three log houses built in Cormorant Township. Built in about 1871 on the Severt Olson farm, the cabin was located about two blocks from the Cormorant Lutheran Church on the farm now owned by Roger and Joyce Priewe. Olson donated the land for the church.

Severt and his wife, Ingeborg, lived in the Olson cabin until 1922. Their daughter Clara married Ole Globstad and lived in the cabin. Ole and Clara had a son, Selmer, who married Irene Balken in 1942. They lived in the cabin until December of 1952, when they built a new house nearby.

Selmer and Irene sold the farm to Roger and Joyce Priewe in 1967, and the cabin was used for hired help for a while and then became storage. The Priewes donated the cabin to the Cormorant Lutheran Church auction in 2007. The Kounovskys, of Lake Ida and Fargo, purchased the cabin at that time.

"I've been remodeling houses all my life," Kounovsky explained. "I've bought and remodeled over 70 houses in the Fargo area. I like working on these old houses."

He said when he came across the old Olson cabin, he couldn't pass up the opportunity -- he had always wanted to remodel an old log cabin. And he's got his work cut out for him on this one.

"It will need to be completely restored."

Previous owner Irene Globstad still lives in Detroit Lakes, and her son Gary, who spent a few childhood years in the cabin, lives nearby.

Kounovsky said he has talked to Gary Globstad, and that he is happy the cabin is being restored and preserved.

Involved in the building of the cabin were Nils Erickson, who homesteaded about two miles east of the Olson farm. Olson had a sawmill and sold lumber in the area. Erickson also built two other cabins with the same design.

The cabins have a living room, bedroom and kitchen on the main floor, with a sleeping area upstairs.

One of the cabins was built on Erickson's farm, which is now a century farm owned by Duane and Mary Erickson, Nils' grandson. That cabin has been removed. Nils Erickson's great grandson Tim Erickson lives in the second cabin built.

Kounovsky said Tim Erickson has done major remodeling on the cabin but inside has "one wall left open to determine it's the old cabin," otherwise one would never know it was the same cabin.

Kounovsky said on the cabin he's restoring, he happen to pass an old log cabin on County Road 15 between Audubon and Lake Eunice, and see some logs he could use. He tracked down the cabin owner, Richard Holm, in Gillette, Wyo., and because the project was being donated to Rollag, Holm was happy to let Kounovsky take the logs he needed to repair the ones on his cabin.

Kounovsky will take some siding off the cabin that covers the logs, re-shingle the structure and do lots of work inside as well. Doors and windows, what's left of them anyway, will need to be replaced as well. He said the project will likely take a few years to complete since it is a spare time project.

The Kounovskys are gifting the cabin, moving and restoration to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers at Rollag. This will preserve the history of one of the first log cabins built in Cormorant Township.

"I thought Rollag would be there forever," Kounovsky said of his decision to donate the building to Rollag. "The Steam Threshers is deep with people with no end in sight."