When Randy McDonald heard that logs were for sale on Mike Huff’s land, he and his wife quickly discovered they would be preserving a part of early Ralls County history — the logs for sale were still intact as a cabin believed to date back to the early to mid 1800s.

When Randy McDonald heard that logs were for sale on Mike Huff’s land, he and his wife quickly discovered they would be preserving a part of early Ralls County history — the logs for sale were still intact as a cabin believed to date back to the early to mid 1800s.

McDonald and his wife, Lola, co-owners of McDonald Stone Company in Center, painstakingly disassembled and tagged each piece of the cabin. With help from good friends and Amish craftsmen with Andy Yoder Construction and the Eicher brothers, the cabin has been restored and relocated about four miles from its original site. And the McDonald couple — who operate the family business with their children Cole, Mason and Lydia — are looking forward to a spring grand opening as they expand their business with the location on New London’s north side and prepare to offer new products and services.

When Randy and Lola looked inside the cabin, it still had the original tools used in its construction. They also found a monument depicting a birth date in March 1776 — predating the signing of the Declaration of Independence — that offered a glimpse into the early days of Missouri and Ralls County. The inscription shows the last name Carstarphen, and Lola McDonald said the family was extremely prominent in Ralls County’s early years.

She said she felt delighted when Mike Huff told them they could display the Carstarphen monument as a historical tribute at their new location. Randy McDonald said their new location will be ideal for displaying the revitalized cabin.

After the team of craftsmen reassembled the cabin, referring to numbered metal discs attached to each section, they sealed the walls with a time-honored process known as “chinking” — Randy McDonald said craftsmen had to first staple a hardware cloth in the space between the logs, then they applied the chinking (akin to mortar) from the interior and exterior of the walls.

“They’re not only our contractors, they’re our dear friends,” McDonald said. “The Amish are such craftsmen — a lot of times, it’s a lost art to do something like this.”

“It’s back as close as we could get to the original state,” Lola McDonald said.

Randy McDonald found Indiana limestone in Kansas to construct the cabin’s foundation. Those stones originally served as the steps for the World War I Museum in Liberty before it was remodeled. He also sourced period lumber to repair damaged sections of the cabin’s second story.

Randy and Lola McDonald said they were excited to stay in touch with Ralls County Historic Society President Ron Leake to discover clues about the history surrounding the Carstarphen family, the original farm and the cabin. Lola McDonald said he believes he has an old photograph of the original site depicting a large home that has since been razed.

She said that along with all of the historical discoveries the family has been making, they are eager to fill the forthcoming design office — which will also be constructed by the Eicher Brother and members of Andy Yoder Construction — with new products and custom services to join the stone signs, monuments and creations of all sizes they make custom inscriptions, designs, tumbled finishes and/or epoxy coatings.

Cole McDonald said at least two new employees will be hired at the New London location. Some of the additions will include water features, statues, landscape adornments, evergreen, fruit and Giant Sequoia trees. Lola McDonald said customers will be able to visit and pick out exactly the design, materials and theme they want in real-time, or they can help design what they want online.

“We’re excited about what our expansion’s going to be,” Lola McDonald said.

Along with the family’s forthcoming endeavors coming to their new location and design office, there will be a theme of preserving history and sharing it with everyone who comes by.

“When I think about it, it’s back up and it’s going to live,” Randy McDonald said. “It’s not going to rot down into nothing, but it will be here for a long time.”

For more information, visit https://www.mcdonaldstoneco.com .

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com