WWYD? Was our house built around the original log cabin?

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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WWYD? Was our house built around the original log cabin?

Post by SharonR »

My husband and started some demo on a kitchen remodel. House is deeded 1900 but appears on the 1871 and 1849 plats as a structure. House has been added to and hit VERY hard by the '1980's Ugly Stick'. Our basement is fieldstone walls with tree trunk joists. If I peer down the heat registers, I see 4 layers of subfloor sitting on 2 layers of 1" T&G boards. Most of the 1st floor and a couple of the 2nd floor walls are 14" thick. Of course I had romantic fantasies of taking surfaces back to uncover beams and floorboards. (Don't we all?).

Buried inside drywall and 2 layers lathe and plaster, we uncover what appears to be the original log cabin. (First layer of lathe were uneven and attached with square black irregular nails). Anyways pretty sure we are going to fire back out and recover. Floors will prolly get top 2 layers of subfloor removed and new hardwood installed because everything (walls, stairs, additions) are all on different flooring levels.

It's frustrating to have uncovered such history and the just cover it back up. What would you do? And do you think it's really the original 150+ year old structure buried in our house?

New Berlin, wi
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Re: WWYD? Was our house built around the original log cabin?

Post by horsevet »

It's certainly possible that your house was originally a log building. I've seen homes where the siding was removed & the logs cleaned & chinking repaired with beautiful results. I've also seen houses where termites & powderpost beetles totally destroyed the logs resulting in a total tear down of the house. The Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg, PA was like that. Neighbors had the same problem last year. It's a big project regardless of the final outcome so consider carefully what you decide to do. You could probably remove a few pieces of siding to see what's there. Also many log house were always sided to look like other houses in the area & never intended to have exposed logs.

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Re: WWYD? Was our house built around the original log cabin?

Post by SouthernLady »

The original part of my grandparents' house was built around 1790 in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Around 1850 or so, the cabin was extended with the addition of another room, making for a grand total of two rooms. :D In the 1930s, a third room, kitchen, and porch was added. We assume it was around that time that siding was also added to the house, which engulfed the old logs. In the '60s, cheap paneling was added to cover the logs of the original section. After my grandfather died and we had to sell the farm (sadly to developers... that's another story...), the last thing we did was take a crowbar--and an expert from our local museum--and tear off the walls to see the logs. Termites had long ago left. Most of those old log buildings weren't built off the ground enough to deter those little buggers.

Best of luck to you with whatever you decide!

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