A 2016 Indiana Bicentennial legacy project. 

In 2007 Martin and Maribeth Rahe of Cincinnati donated to Hillforest Historical Foundation the historic log house and surrounding .405 acres located adjacent to the Hillforest property line. This historic structure has been dated to 1823 and is thought to be one of the oldest log cabins in Indiana.

  The Indiana Bicentennial Commission designated the "Harris Cabin Restoration" a Bicentennial Legacy Project. Perry Hammock, Executive Director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission states,"I know this project will make an impact, and be a great contribution to Indiana's legacy." 



 Additional grants and private funding are being sought to complete the cabin restoration to serve as a meeting place for area youth groups and serve as an educational resource for the community. Restoration projects yet to completed are: cabin roof,  fireplace, windows and doors, and siding preservation. 

Donations to the Harris Cabin Restoration may be sent to
Hillforest, P.O. Box 127, Aurora, IN 47001. To donate per credit card please call 812-926-0087.

Hillforest Historical Foundation acknowledges grant support for the cabin from the following:

  • Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs
  • The City of Aurora
  • The Efroymson Family Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation
  • The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Foundation /US Bank Foundation                  
  • Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation & Archeology.
  • Lawrenceburg Community Grant/Dearborn Community Foundation

“The overall goal for the historically significant structure is restoration and use of the cabin as a learning center for     elementary students. We want to bring to life the history of Aurora and provide a dramatic connection between pioneer existence and the opulence of industrial success that flourished here only thirty years later,” notes cabin restoration committee chairman, Robert Powell.

 The original section of land the log cabin sits on was purchased by Samuel Harris, a long-time church of English clergy-man who immigrated from Leeds, England, according to the 1885 History of Dearborn and Ohio counties. Harris later be-came pastor of the Aurora Baptist Church. The Aurora Asso-ciation surveyed and laid out the city in 1819, filing papers of incorporation and naming the city in spring 1820. The minutes of the Aurora Association show that Harris purchased the cabin site in May 1823 for $75. What is known about the cabin is that it was built in a hurry. The logs used shows crudeness in its structure, probably due to the fact that shel-ter from the winter elements was eminent. Darrin Rubino, Biology professor at Hanover College, dated the cabin’s logs through the science of dendrochronology to 1821-1822.

William Tell Harris (son of Samuel) was born in 1796 in London ,became a physician before coming to America in 1817. Before settling in Aurora he returned to his native England, married and came back to Aurora to live with his new wife and his parents, Samuel and Sarah. He was known to have quite an extensive library and, a memoir written by George W. Lane refers to a 1843 visit to Harris by Gov. James Whitcomb in which they discussed literature.

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