Standing in a field on a quiet street in Canterberry Crossing is a piece of Parker’s early history, but even some residents living blocks away are unaware of its existence.
The bright exterior colors on the Tallman/Newlin Cabin suggest devoted upkeep, but the tiny structure is once again in need of renovation. The Parker Area Historical Society, a nonprofit organization that watches over the last remnants of the past, partnered with the Smoky Hill Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on a $2,600 project to spruce up the cabin.
Contractors will repair rotting steps, replace damaged latticing around the cabin base with a weather- and rodent-resistant material, put in a new back door, and apply a new coat of paint. Crews will also replace a barbed-wire fence, a rotted window and a door lock, as well as fixing up the pathway leading to the front of the cabin.
Mike Mulligan, president of the historical society, said the improvements are necessary to preserve the nearly 150-year-old structure for future generations. The goal is to also introduce current Parkerites, most of whom have never heard of the Tallman/Newlin Cabin. Even in Canterberry Crossing, “people don’t know about it,” he said, aside from those who live in the vicinity of the cabin at Callaway Road and Canterberry Drive.
Built in 1866 by John and Elizabeth Tallman, some of the first settlers in the area, the cabin has a storied and sometimes tragic history. Just a few yards to the south of the cabin is a cemetery with headstones bearing the names of its second occupants, the Newlin family. But nearby are three unmarked graves containing the remains of three unidentified people.
In an application for a matching grant from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the historical society says Newlin family lore indicates that Hattie Parker and her daughter, Mary, died of cholera and were buried there by Moses Parker, who was distraught and took his own life, possibly in 1892. Longtime Parker Area Historical Society member Larry Smith is in the process of trying to determine the origin of the graves.
The last member of the Newlin family died in the 1960s and the property was bought by developers in the 1970s. The cabin was moved 1,000 feet in 1996.
The exterior, with its aquamarine trim, is in stark contrast to the dark, dusty confines inside. The interior has undergone some minor improvements, but has been able to retain its rustic charm.
Mulligan said schoolchildren are routinely brought to the Tallman/Newlin Cabin for a history lesson, but outside of that, there are few visitors. The historical society aims to change that.
The cabin is on the Colorado State Register of Historic Places and is designated as a landmark by the Town of Parker. It was deeded to the Parker Area Historical Society in 1996 by Black Creek Capital.
For more information, go to www.parkerhistory.org.