On Thursday, July 18, 2019, Apostle Island Historic Preservation Conservancy members joined volunteers from a wide spectrum of organizations and backgrounds to provide long-needed preservation work on the John Nelson cabin at Little Sand Bay.
Though readily visible at the side of the road, the one-room cabin is one of the lesser-known historic features of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. A Norwegian immigrant, Nelson worked as a hired man at the Hokenson Brothers Fishery. He built the cabin about 1938 using hand tools and skilled, old-world craftsmanship. It served as his home for nearly two decades until shortly before his death.
In recent years, the cabin has suffered from the effects of deferred maintenance. However, this week, under the direction of National Park Service personnel, AIHPC volunteers joined members of the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, local residents of Russell Township, and members of the historic Sand Island families to clear brush away from the structure then scrape and paint the exterior.
As one observer emarked, “A new day has dawned”  for the cabin and the park’s historic heritage.