When the Sargent’s bought Buckhorn Springs in 1988, they knew then the first and hardest thing they had to do was restore the lodge. Bruce began the challenge by uncovering historical photos of the exterior of the lodge from 1892. Using these he was able to accurately reconstruct the exterior to resemble the photos as closely as he could. “I was lucky enough to use the historic photographs taken of the front of the Lodge to scale all the necessary dimensions such as wall height and door and window size and placement,” says Sargent. Bruce was unable to find any information on the interior, which left him free to come up with a new floor plan to meet the modern comforts of today, such as more spacious rooms and indoor plumbing.
In 1864, the core of the Lodge was originally built as a typical homestead house. It was approximately 15 feet by 25 feet, two stories with two rooms on each floor. In 1892, James Clarke Tolman had the home expanded into a Lodge. There were many changes over the years including a fire along with major interior remodeling in the 1960’s. When we purchased Buckhorn in 1988, although the Lodge’s footprint was essentially the same as it had been in 1892, it was unrecognizable from the early days.
The lodge restoration was started in 1990 and was substantially completed by 1992 with the help of over 40 different people; however, work has been ongoing, completing different projects during the off-season. Having the opportunity to bring this building back to life with guidance from old photographs and accounts, as well as using many different acquired skills, has been inspiring. To my surprise, I discovered that maintaining the Lodge over a 20-year time frame has been my biggest challenge. Things keep needing to be fixed! Finally, after more than 20 years, in 2008 and 2009, I was able to bring the Lodge back to its original appearance by duplicating the porch roofs and pole railings around its extensive decks. Finally, I had the chance to complete the part of the Lodge restoration that I had dreamed about since I first saw Scott’s historic photograph.