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Log cabin ceremony a long time coming

It was an evening of contrasts.

With the roar of a powered Parglider pulsing through the sky, Harriette Ramsey gave the signal to cut the yellow ribbon to open the 19th Century Josiah Riley Log Cabin.

It was the realization of a dream long coming.

“It took a community to get involved for this log cabin to be here,” Ramsey, president of the Concerned Citizens of Burlington, told the audience who gathered Saturday evening at the Burlington Commons.

There will be the final home for the historic Riley log cabin, whose restoration has been an ongoing project for the Concerned Citizens.

The last family to live in the cabin were Jim and Clella “Aunt Tike” Riley. Jim Riley was a son of Josiah, born Jan. 2, 1879, and grew up in the cabin that was built before 1877.

Lawrence County historian Betty Burchem contacted the Burlington supporters about a year ago about the possibility of acquiring the cabin, then located on County Road 1 in Chesapeake.

“We jumped at the chance of saving the log cabin,” Ed Moellendick, vice president of the Concerned Citizens, said. “It takes great pleasure to bring the Josiah Riley Log Cabin back to life.”

Sitting in the back of the audience was Burchem, who was pleased the cabin was saved.

“We’re too quick to tear old things down. I like it when they save something,” Burchem said.

Margo Lemley was a niece of James and Clella Riley and used to spend summers in the cabin. Sitting in the audience Saturday, she recalled those days.

“It brings back lots of memories of my childhood growing up,” Lemley said. “Aunt Tike would take quilts and pile them up on the floor (for a bed). I thought it was fun then.”

After thanking those in the community for their contributions to the restoration project, Ramsey urged the group to continue the work.

“I hope this will inspire you to get on board with the projects in our park,” she said.