By Sean Rice
Celina’s oldest building, a log cabin standing near Grand Lake St. Marys, will soon be no more.
Apparently a deal has been struck between Mercer County Historical Society and a Wabash-area man to remove the historic structure from North shore Park.
Named the Mathias Smith Tavern, the cabin is the last standing memorial to the workers who dug out Grand Lake St. Marys by hand 165 years ago.
According to local history, German and Irish immigrants used mules and carts to drag out dirt to make the “Grand Reservoir” and were paid 30 cents and a jigger of whiskey a day. At night they slept in cabins built for the workers, one being the Mathias Smith Tavern.
Celina Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski said Michael Robinson, of Township Line Road, is dismantling the cabin and taking it to his property.
“It’s not really ours to give away, it’s owned by the historical society,” Sovinski said, adding he was unsure of Robinson’s plan for the cabin.
Sovinski said the decision was made by the historical society, and the city’s only involvement was allowing Robinson to access city property to remove the cabin.
Robinson could not be reached for comment this morning.
When contacted by telephone and asked about the cabin, historical society President Joyce Alig said, “I’m retired.” Several attempts this morning to contact society Vice President Philip Naumann were unsuccessful.