January 17, 2009

Log Cabins

A Historic Cabin on the Green River, Utah, 2005. With permission: MMGB.

Entries: Written in advance up to the 19th and after that, you get just pictures for a while.

Himself: He’s been having great days at work, afterwards, a walk then my hero cooked dinner.

Herself: Slept less. Hand elevated more. Finished all six Kludas volumes “Great Passenger Ships of The World.” Ate too much1 Many thanks to you all for keeping me in your thoughts.

Balance: G.
I’m fascinated by log cabins. I grew up in a Southern California, Victorian, farming community. The original settler’s homes were still there as I was growing up, but they were tall, foursquare farmhouses, most without embellishment. I’d never seen a real log cabin until I met a few in Utah.

The earliest homes in Jamestown were board and batten, but the following waves of German, Swiss, and Swedish immigrants brought log house techniques with them when they arrived. The early thatched roofs that worked well in England, grew dry and caught fire in the Virginia river country, so new roof techniques needed to be devised.

As the immigrants moved west, the Homestead Act of 1862 stated that the sides of a house must be at least 10 feet by 12 feet with at least one window. Often when the homebuilder could not get glass, they used oiled paper. These cabins could be erected in just a few days using basic tools and the material to hand, logs.

Imagine whole families, plus the hired help, plus a treasured animal or tw, all jammed together in a space the size of your living room. Dirt floors, few windows with glass, no running water, terrible weather, and only outside bathrooms to use in the middle of the nights. Sometimes there was death. Sometimes disease. Always there were problems to overcome. There were dreams though, and in the end the dreams usually carried these hard working pioneers through.


Vernal Utah, Log cabin with Tree by the side of the road.


Log Cabin Architecture, History and Styles

A History of Log Cabins

Webshots: Log Cabins from 1787: 6 pages of photos

Living in a log home.

A Pioneer Log Home.


  1. Love these photos and the sentiment about them. I hope you are doing well and recovering, thank you for all your support and kindness.

  2. This is a very nice post! I too like old cabins, and you've written about them so sensitively and well that I cannot imagine anyone having read this coming upon one in the future and not taking the chance to explore, as you did, with camera in hand.

  3. We have a couple in the neighborhood, from the late 18th and early 18th centuries. This one (http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/RoverDocuments/20030619OJ142323JPG_med_000_EBC41662D4564EEE9102C139BD15AD73_V_0.JPG) was built in 1804 and has been expanded, but it still occupied. It's in the city of Cincinnati, believe it or not.

    There is another one about a mile away, in a close-in suburb, that is used as a museum, and dates to 1796: (http://hamiltoncountyauditor.org/RoverDocuments/20030702Q2120947JPG_med_000_9C4C1CB36F804D9385A127A916C960C8_V_0.JPG)

    And not all that many miles away is Washington, Kentucky, where all the houses are log cabins. Some years ago someone removed siding to discover the original log construction on their house, and eventually most of the village restored the exterior of their homes to show the original look of the place. You can see some of it at: http://www.washingtonky.com/

  4. Did you know there is a National Park site devoted to telling the story of the Homestead Act of 1862? To learn more about what may be the most influential piece of legislation this country has ever created go to www.nps.gov/home or visit Homestead National Monument of America. Located in Nebraska, the Monument includes one of the first 160 acres homestead claims but tells the story of homesteading throughout the United States. Nearly 4 million claims in 30 states were made under the Homestead Act and 1.6 million or 40percent were successful. The Homestead Act was not repealed until 1976 and extended in Alaska until1986. Homesteads could be claimed by “head of households” that were citizens or eligible for citizenship. New immigrants, African-Americans, women who were single, widowed or divorced all took advantage of the Homestead Act. It is estimated that as many as 93 million Americans are descendents of these homesteaders today. This is a story as big, fascinating, conflicted and contradictory as the United States itself. Learn more!


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...