Childhood playhouse still stands

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 1, 2003

Many young girls get dollhouses to play with, but Anna Mae Sloan got a log house to play in.

More than sixty years ago, Fred Wineka built his granddaughter, Anna, her very own miniature log cabin. The perfect size for a child, the cabin had little windows, a pot-bellied stove and all the furnishings.

Although Anna's family sold the property years ago, that playhouse still stands today in Bill and Betty Lou Hughes' side yard along County Road 15 (Lick Creek Road). The Dart made sure this unique wonder did not go unnoticed.

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Grayed with age, the rough-hewn logs have held together well. The brown metal roof has a few holes but still keeps the rain out.

Anna Sloan, whose maiden name is Markel, moved to Cheyenne, Wyo., years ago but the playhouse still holds a special place in her heart all these years later.

"It meant more to me than anything," she said by phone Thursday from her home in Cheyenne, Wyo. "I was probably the happiest kid ever."

Though she was just a few years old, she remembers helping her grandpa build the one-room structure.

"We would go up on the hill and cut down the logs," she said. "I was always out there with him."

Needless to say, Anna was the envy of many her young friends growing up. But, she was happy to share.

"It was not just strictly for me," she said. "Everyone called it Anna's playhouse, but it was for all the kids."

Last month, Anna got a chance to come back and visit the site of many of her childhood adventures for the first time in a few years as she returned for her 50th class reunion at Dawson-Bryant High School. She also got a chance to see her relatives and the Hughes family, with whom she has remained close.

Bill Hughes remembers that when he bought the property the weeds were grown up so tall that you could just see the top of the roof.

Though he does not use it for much more than storage, he said it does add a little character to the field and helps entertain his grandsons.

"One of them said, 'Papaw, why don't you put me a bed down there?' I said what in the world for?," Bill recounts. "He said, 'So Santa Claus can come leave me presents at our house, your house and this would be my own house."

Pete and Juanita Markel, Anna's brother and sister-in-law, both fondly remember the cabin and its furnishings. The cabin also had a hand-made table, chairs and cabinet that the family was able to keep after the property was sold.

"Our children and her children played with that. Then we took it to her in Wyoming about 10 years ago," Juanita said. "Now all the neighbor's children play with it out there at her house."

As Anna Mae Sloan got ready to get off the telephone, a knock at the door could be heard in the background.

"I have to go," she said. "Some of the children are here."

Looks like all of Fred Wineka's handy-work is still going strong.