The rustic 1926 Peterson Prairie Guard Station was closed after being destroyed in an accidental fire on Sept. 10, 2012. The Mt. Adams Institute will raise money to move an existing historic building scheduled for demolition to replace the burned Peterson Prairie structure. The Institute has set up a donation site on their website: http://www.mtadamsinstitute.com/support/petersen-prairie-cabin-replacement-project/. The replacement cabin will eventually be available for rental.
History – Peterson Prairie Guard Station was built between August and December, 1926, by District Ranger Harvey A. Welty and Forest Guard Eilert Skaar, with some help from Forest Supervisor Harry White and other staff. The “new” cabin was built to replace a deteriorated log cabin erected by homesteader John Peters in 1890, and abandoned after his first winter at the site. The Forest Service used the old Peters cabin as one of their first ranger stations in the area. Peters built his cabin along the old “McClellan Trail” used by Captain George B. McClellan during his 1853 railroad survey. Traces of the old McClellan trail are still visible near the Peterson Prairie Guard Station.
In his diary for October 1926, Ranger Harvey Welty listed the equipment stored at Peterson Prairie Guard Station at the end of the season: “2 riding saddles, 2 riding bridles, chaps, 6 halters, blankets for saddles, 1 sledge (#8), 1 double-bitted axe, 1 gas lantern, 1 kerosene lantern, 1 lamp stand, 1 gas lantern pump, 1 gas lantern wrench, 1 heating stove, 1 Colonial Jr. stove, 1 6 1/2 ft. falling saw, 2 saw handles, 1 grind stone.” It was nearing the end of the era of the horseback rangers.