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Can This Replica of Thoreau's Cabin Stop a Controversial Pipeline Project?

The protest power of architecture

Protest architecture has taken many forms -- from the tent cities of Occupy Wall Street to the "Trojan Polar Bear" that appeared outside of Shell's London office last year.

But now, in a remote Massachusetts field, a new structure of protest has taken shape -- a model of Henry David Thoreau's cabin on Walden pond. Built directly in the path of a proposed 416-mile-long gas pipeline, the small, rustic structure, according to an article in Atlas Obscura, is meant to serve as a rallying point for locals and a symbol of civil disobedience.

The Thoreau Cabin Pipeline Barricade is the brainchild of local timber-frame builder Will Elwell, who grew up near Concord, Massachusetts, and would go fishing at Walden as a kid. When Elwell learned of the plan for the Kinder Morgan TGP Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, the 67-year-old builder decided that he needed to do more than post signs. Elwell soon paid a visit to the Concord library to inspect the plans for Thoreau's 10-by-15-foot Walden cabin, then spent weeks hand-chiseling the building's frame from reclaimed timber.

Elwell received a building permit for the structure, and more than two dozen people helped him raise the frame in a meadow owned by his friend Larry Sheehan. Another 150 locals turned up for a cabin dedication in late March. Since then, people have been visiting the open structure and writing comments in a journal kept at the site.

If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) green-light the controversial pipeline, Elwell envisions protesters chaining themselves to the cabin.

Protesters are Rebuilding Thoreau’s Cabin to Block a Gas Pipeline [Atlas Obscura]

Students Built a 'Concrete City' to Protest the Government [Curbed]