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Monday, January 31, 2011

Real Log Cabins part 1

So, you've seen one ratty old quilt type log cabin. Here's the real deal. This is the Iddings Log Cabin, supposedly the oldest log cabin in Miami County, Ohio on its original location.

I'm not sure who did a survey, but we'll get into that in another blog post. Some of the siding has been replaced and other repairs have been made, but this is the original configuration on the original foundations. In 1804, Benjamin Iddings brought his wife and six of his ten children to this location in Newtown Township and built this house to hold them all. It's not large, maybe about 20' x 12. As is usual, there is one room downstairs and a second upstairs, although I'm not sure if the second floor is divided. Usually they were, both for sleeping space for children and servants (if they had any, or hired hands) as well as for storage of grain, wool, foodstuffs and so on. This is the front of the house.

This is the back porch. Notice how the columns are simply logs which were put into place. Windows were expensive and quite often they started out as oiled pieces of leather or untanned hides and were replaced with glass when the family could afford them. Even so, you didn't want to have a lot of window as windows let in cold as well as light.

Here, you can see the east side of the house. The cabin stands on the Bruckner Nature Center property just off Horseshoe Bend Road in Troy, almost to Pleasant Hill...or maybe it is still West Milton at that point.

The Cabin is open during the summer for interpretation and for various activities.

Keep in mind the layout of this house and the porches. Quite often, these lean-to porches were turned into additional rooms, often a kitchen off the back as the family got more money and time to make their home larger.

The back door is about 5' high. I have to incline my head slightly as I go in and I'm 5'4". The average height of a man in the American Revolutionary war was 5' 8", so even they would have had to duck a little. Again, less opportunity for heat to get out, and unwanted things/people to get in.

We often think of log houses or log cabins as not being squared off, but most of the ones in the east and midwest were squared with a broad ax and cut to interlink. Notice the chinking--the mortar between the logs. Originally, this would have been made with a clay/grass and sometimes animal hair mixture and it would have to be replaced as time went on. At some point, this concrete mixture was put in...I think probably recently, perhaps in 1976 or in 2006 when the cabin was restored/repaired.

I would be a little concerned about this as concrete often holds moisture which would cause the logs to rot, but hopefully someone used a mixture which doesn't allow it to be wet.

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