Looking for a protected, isolated place for a home, Jack Longstreet rode into Ash Meadows and found exactly what he was looking for- a clear spring, a cave in a spring mound, and open pasture for his horses. He enlarged the cave and built a stone cabin in front of the opening. The mound actually formed the back wall and part of the sides of the cabin. Longstreet and his second wife, Susie, lived at the house for about five years (1895-1899).
In 1984 a flash flood reduced Jack's cabin to rubble. Historic restoration experts painstakingly set each stone back in its original position based on photos taken early in the last century. Restoration concluded in 2006.
Concrete block coated with a sandy lime plaster replicates the spring mound that supported the cabin's back wall. This small cave opened into the lower spring mound providing a trickle of water. In addition to drinking water, Jack also stored perishable food in this naturally cool spot.
Longstreet epitomizes the mythical western frontiersman: Self-reliant, independent and fair-minded. Speaking with a southern drawl, he was quick with a pistol and never missed his mark. As his skill with a gun grew so did his reputation as a dangerous man. Trouble seemed to follow him and he often found it convenient to avoid his enemies by living in out-of-the-way places. At the end of his life he was finally accepted as a gruff but kind man with exciting stories of his gunslinger days.
Photos like this from 1927 were helpful to restoration stone masons resetting the original stones.
Jack Longstreet 1928