2009 Log Cabin Tour
Flood Recovery

by Karen Farley

Every year for the last 30 years, visitors to Brown County have experienced first hand interesting décor, beautiful gardens, family heirlooms, and the work of local artists—every year except last year.

Last summer, Bill and Becky Freeman were a little reluctant to open their log cabin, but agreed when they realized it was for a good cause. When the rains came that Saturday in June, the Log Cabin Tour was cancelled. “We didn’t get very much rain, so we were surprised that they cancelled the tour,” Becky says. “Bill and I went into Columbus that afternoon for dinner and a movie. When we came out, there were road blocks everywhere.” After driving around for 45 minutes, they stopped by a shelter at a local middle school for road information. “Our hearts went out to the victims,” Becky adds. Instead of opening their log home to the public, the Freemans spent the night in Columbus helping flood victims.

Dennis and Betsy Parman own Peaceful Valley LLC, a company that dismantles, designs, and reconstructs antique log cabins into new homes. The Parmans moved into their log home in December, 2007. “The cancellation of last year’s tour had a huge impact on fundraising efforts, but it allowed our family one more year to work on our ‘new’ home,” says Betsy. This will be the third home they have shown on the annual tour.

The Annual Log Cabin and Country Home Tour sponsored by the Brown County Chapter of Psi Iota Xi Sorority (Psi Otes) will be held this year on June 6 and 7. The members have planned and presented an annual Log Cabin Tour for over 30 years. According to the organization, it takes many “woman hours” to put this event on every year. Guests are invited to drive the back roads of Brown County to visit five different log cabin and country homes.

Psi Otes is a national philanthropic organization that was founded in Muncie, Indiana in 1897. The Brown County chapter was chartered in 1966 and has an average of 35 members. Psi Otes donates most of its funds to art, music, literacy, and speech and hearing projects in the local area. “All of the money stays in the local area,” says Chairperson Holly Catron.
“Because this is our biggest fundraiser, the cancellation of last year’s tour put several projects in jeopardy including the 2008 scholarships to High School seniors (which had already been promised),” says Holly. The Psi Ote “sisters” pitched in to recover. They added several fundraisers including the late summer Betty Begonia sale and a fall mum sale. “The mum sale was an idea from the Martinsville Psi Iota Xi chapter,” Holly says. Due to the success of these additional events and the spring flower sale, they were able to send the scholarship money to the students in late summer.

“The cancellation of the tour was a great inconvenience to our homeowners on the tour. They have all, however, offered to ‘go through it all again’ and are all back on the tour for this year,” Holly says. “We were able to reuse tickets and brochures, saving over $600 on this year’s tour.”

In the past, the organization has purchased a grand piano for the high school auditorium, band uniforms for high school students, hearing aids, and special musical equipment for disadvantaged children. Their Reading is Fundamental (RIF) project provides free books to elementary school children in Brown County and dictionaries to all 3rd grade students. “Although we have not been able to fulfill several requests for funds this year, we look forward to a great 2009 Log Cabin Tour,” Holly adds.

This year’s tour features five homes along Brown County’s picturesque back roads and byways. Each year, the route and guest home is different. Visitors should allow at least three to four hours for all of the homes. The route totals 30 to 40 miles of driving and reaches across many areas of Brown County. Signs are posted along the way.

The cabins will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. They close promptly at 4:00 p.m. each day .The tour can be done all in one day or by splitting the route up and do two or three houses each day. The map is available on the website and visitors can read about each home by clicking on the “Current Tour” link.

Whether you are a long-time Brown County resident or a visitor you can relax and enjoy the beauty of the hills and the warmth and friendliness of volunteers and home owners waiting to share a little bit of Brown County.

Tickets for adults are $15 and children are $7. Children under two are free. For more information, visit <www.logcabintour.com>, or stop by the Brown County Visitors Center during normal business hours.