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Bordner Cabin

Bordner Cabin Drive thru Swatara State Park 9AM-3PM the 2nd Fri & Sat monthly & 4th Fri & Sat Mar, Apr, Sep & Oct.

The Armar Bordner Cabin is on Old State Road/Bear Hole Trail along Aycrigg’s Falls on Rattling Run in Swatara State Park. Armar admired Frank Lloyd Wright, and copied his technique with the porch by using a cantilever system to slightly extend the porch over Rattling Run. Using Rustic Style Architecture, the only architecture created by a bureaucracy–the National Park Service, Armar used stone and oak trees found on the site to make the building blend into nature–an original sustainable building.  The stones are masterfully cut.  Each log is concave on the bottom to nestle snugly on the log beneath it, and original horse-hair chinking remains between the logs to keep the air from penetrating the Cabin.  However, the doors and windows were already removed when the Swatara Watershed Association stepped up to the plate to  save the Cabin from demolition.  Don’t worry.  There’s an ample overhang to keep out the elements.

Armar’s home was taken by eminent domain for the Park, but he won the right to live in the home until he died at age 90 in 1994. He passed away in a bed as he looked up at Aycrigg’s Falls from the picture window in his living room.  Armar also has a connection to the Coleman’s and Brocks, ironmaster millionaires who lived in what is now known as Coleman Park. More specifically, Stella Darkes, Armar’s mother, was Mrs. Deborah Norris Coleman Brock’s personal cook. His father was an alcoholic, and Stella sought employment to support herself and the children. At first, Armar lived in Lickdale with his grandparents, and rode the Lebanon to Tremont (L&T) Railroad to the 8th Street train station where Mrs. Brock had the children picked up by her driver in her Pierce Arrow. At age 6, Armar and Myrtle, his sister, moved into the Brock mansion where they lived until Armar went off to college. Armar enjoyed working in Mrs. Brock’s 1.5 acre garden under Master Gardner Bill Jenson. When he learned to drive, Armar drove to the post office to retrieve the mail.  He no doubt picked up many of his mason and woodworking skills studying the craftsmen brought back to America by the Coleman’s and Brocks.  

Hike, bike or horseback ride to the Armar Bordner Cabin.  Commune with nature in this outdoor setting.  See the view that Armar woke up to each morning.  Utilize one of the picnic tables inside.  Carry in and carry out your lunch and trash.   Take pictures.  Paint.  Sit and listen to the water running.  

Sorry the fireplace is inoperable at this time.  SWA is looking for a mason to complete and certify repairs.  We’d also like to add some Amish solar lights to refract light into the Cabin on overcast days.  The roof around the chimney needs tarred too.

Further, the retaining wall along Aycrigg’s Falls, the stone wall under the porch (please stay off of the porch), and the sidewalk need repaired or replaced due to a 500 year flood that hit during the summer of 2018.  In reality, with all of the runoff entering Rattling Run and Aycrigg’s Falls from Route 81 at the top of the Falls, it was like a 1,000 year flood.  Hardworking volunteers  are needed to help with repairs.  Not all is skilled labor.  Rocks need sorted, water hauled, and cement mixed.  We’re praying for assistance from the Red Horse, Scouts from Camp Bashore, and MSC Sid Tool too.  A signed liability release is required.

Monthly stewards are welcome to sweep up inside, pick up litter,  weed. clean the plexiglass, greet people, and share the history of the Cabin.

Donations to Swatara Watershed Association for use and/or maintenance of the Bordner Cabin are most welcome and appreciated.

Explore Lebanon County’s only waterfall, Aycrigg’s Falls, too.

Romance is in the Air. Share your engagement and wedding pictures at the Bordner Cabin.