A little known tourist attraction in New York’s Finger Lakes region is the birthplace of the 13th U.S. president, Millard Fillmore. Born on Jan. 7, 1800, in Moravia, the replica house sits in the namesake park Fillmore Glen four miles from the family log cabin that is no longer standing. But the imitation house was falling into disrepair, until the members of the Union Sportsmen Alliance went to work last spring.
Syracuse, N.Y., Local 43 Business Manager Donald Morgan and more than 20 other volunteers helped restore the 50-year-old log cabin about 50 miles south of Syracuse. In nearly 345 man-hours, they reroofed the cedar shake shingles, installed new floorboards, and put in new logs at the bottom of the cabin very carefully to keep the authenticity of the 19thcentury home.
|Roofers Local 195 Business Manager Ron Haney, left, Fillmore Glen Park Manager Jeff Zaia, Regional Director of N.Y. State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Fred Bonn and Local 43 Business Manager Donald Morgan stand at the doorway of the replica home.
“We had roofers, sheet metal workers, masons, insulators, guys from (United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters), electrical workers… It was a team effort for sure,” Morgan said.
The Union Sportsmen Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground, including the North and Central N.Y. Building and Construction Trades Council volunteers, coordinated the project. U.S.A. is a nonprofit conservation organization seeking to unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.
After long days of diligent work and a great deal of elbow grease, the final product turned out to be just what those involved were expecting.
“We really appreciate our communities, so we love the chance to give back to them and it helps us paint a picture of who union members really are.” Morgan added, “We really hit a homerun. It was just what we were hoping for.”
Even though President Fillmore is known to be among the least influential U.S. presidents, the replica cabin is a hot spot for patrons of the state park. When visitors aren’t camping, swimming, or enjoying the many other amenities of Fillmore Glen, they can be found taking a stroll through the look-a-like cabin.