Driving up Big Creek of Stinking Creek on Ky 718 about four miles above the Dewitt school you would find the Lend-A-Hand Center which has a land mark of a high bridge over Stinking Creek. Peggy and Irma designed and built the bridge in 1959-1960 using the idea of some of the railroad trestles in the coal country.
Another landmark you might see is a restored log cabin nestled on a knoll facing the road. How did the Bargo’s log cabin from four miles up “Bargers” creek on Salt Gum find its way to Big Creek? Maybe you would know some of the names associated with that building.
According to the records I have on hand, the property was bought by Gabe and Axie Bargo from Bill and Florence Mills near December 10th, 1938. Then an adjoining parcel was bought from Rufus and Mary J. Bargo in February 1944. The following names and words were used in the description of the land: “…a conditional line of Abe and Peter Bargo …thence with the drain to the forks of the drean…divides link branch and Bargo’s Creek…ridge that divides Punching Branch and Bargo’s Creek…above sulfur spring to John Bargo’s agreed line;…to Jesse Tuggle’s line …etc.”
Sometime after 1938, the story goes that Gabe Bargo with the help of a neighbor, Spur Bargo, put together a typical two-room log cabin with an oak board lean-to kitchen on that property. Here say has it they used a combination of logs from another old log building along with logs cut on the property. That could explain why some of the logs are flat hued while others are round, some are of different type of trees and some of the corners are flat joined while others are slanted.
All that property was sold to Willard and R. P. Mills in April 1971 who then, two years later, sold the land and cabin to Sue Richards who was then a volunteer at Lend-A-Hand Center. By this time the cabin and property had been vacant for several years so it was almost unlivable. It was slowly repaired and used as a get-away cabin. Then in August 1976 Sue and Irma worked hard at making it their home for thirteen years while they continued working at the Center
In 1989 Sue purchased property in Middlesboro where she operated a Bed and Breakfast. In the mid- 1990’s Irma, with the help of many volunteers, took the cabin apart piece by piece, log by log very carefully numbering and recording each piece. Finally in the spring of 2005 we re-assembled that log cabin trying to recapture the look of so many homes found on Stinking Creek fifty year ago. Care was taken to capture the look of the housing of so many people in the area. We wanted to remind passersby of “the cabin that my grandparents lived in.”
And that is the short story of how the cabin from way up Salt Gum became a fixture on the Lend-A-Hand property on Stinking Creek. That leads to many stories of life at So Much, the name they gave that cabin.