Like many authors, I scour the internet for period-correct pictures to use as writing aids. They help me envision how my hero and heroine looked, what they wore, where they lived, and how they lived. I had chosen a very special cabin as my inspiration for the home of Drew Wallin, my hero in March’s Would-Be Wilderness Wife. I’d never seen one like it. It was originally built by David Denny in the late 1800s in Seattle, so I knew it was not only fairly close to my time period but also perfect for the frontier Seattle that is the setting of my story. He built it originally as a real estate office to interest people in land, coincidentally land that the Wallins would have owned. It was later used as a school and another business, and a rumor circulated that Chief Sealth, for whom Seattle is named, built it.
Yes, it was a lovely cabin. I was happy to write about Drew living there. What I never expected was to find it. Here. Now.
I was driving my husband to Federal Way to meet up with a friend who was taking him to a workshop. “We’ll pass a park,” I said, nose glued to the map on my smart phone, “and then you turn left.” Glancing up, I saw we were passing a park.
A park with Drew’s cabin sitting on the grass.
I gasped. I choked. “Did you see that?” I demanded of my husband. “That cabin! That was Drew’s cabin!”
“What cabin?” my husband asked. “Am I supposed to turn left somewhere?”
I got him safely to his friend’s, then turned the car around. All the way back, I kept watch, and when the driveway opened up for the park, I pulled in. There it was, just as I remembered it. It had to be a replica, right? I mean, two-story log cabins from the 1800s don’t generally survive in our world. And it hadn’t been built in Federal Way, nearly 30 miles south of David Denny’s claim. How could it have made the trip?
Scrambling up to the cabin in the early morning light, I peered into the windows. A sign proudly proclaimed it the restored David Denny cabin.
I was stunned. I was delighted! It was as if a little part of Drew and Catherine had found its way into my world.
And now yours. If you ever get to West Hylebos Wetlands Park in Federal Way, Washington, you can see it for yourself. The cabin has been lovingly restored by the Federal Way Historical Society. Drew’s box bed is missing, alas, but you can imagine them sitting around the hearth, planning the next day’s adventure. I certainly did!