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Beacon Archive

January 2003
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The Remains of Cornelius Gallagher's Home

There is a private trail, so overgrown it can barely be seen, running through junipers and under stretched steel cables along the edge of the Pheasant Preserve. It ends at a mowed field on a slightly convex plateau surrounded by wetlands and Cornelius's Swamp. Towards dusk, deer browse, and various songbirds take their regular, fifteen-minute turn exuberantly telling the night that they are here, and are not afraid.

In the southeast corner stands the remains of an old, two-story log home, where both Salty and Cundy Gallagher spent their youth. Interior walls were done with plaster-and-lath and some wainscoting. The spaces between the logs were filled with thin, flat squares of cedar, arranged like tumbled dominos and then chinked over with a cementitious compound that has weathered well. The outside was once furred with vertical strips and then sided, but nothing remains of the siding itself; it must have been taken off and removed when the home was abandoned.

The structure is surrounded with still-bearing apple trees. At the other end of the field, a winding dirt road leads through other, hidden fields, eventually bringing a view of Round Lake, a favorite stopping spot for several kinds of duck and geese.

This is now all private land; permission must be obtained before venturing onto it.

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