The Progress Fund was very accommodating, straightforward, and pleasant.
In 1994, the contractor working on John Dawes’ roof mentioned a job he’d landed: disassembling a 200-year-old log cabin. The owner planned to auction off the timbers, interwoven in 1787 using the Swedish notch technique. John, an environmental grantmaker, was appalled. He vowed to buy the cabin, rebuild it on his farm, and rent it to responsible visitors.
Buying the cabin was easy. But for four years, the timbers sat in storage while John sought financing to reassemble them. Banks wanted him to mortgage his farm, which he was reluctant to do. Finally, John discovered The Progress Fund, which agreed to lend $45,000 against the cabin’s value using U.S. Department of Agriculture funds. The Progress Fund “was very accommodating, straightforward, and pleasant,” says Dawes.
John rebuilt the cabin, installing a high-efficiency soapstone stove and photovoltaic cells. Nonprofit organizations, academics, and Penn State football fans often rent the cabin for retreats or gatherings. A cabin that was almost sold for scrap now marries the design genius of yesteryear with the environmental technology of today – and adds vitality to a farming community while preserving its integrity.View Story as PDF