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• Restoration    LIMESTONE & WOODS  |  TECHNIQUES  |  GROUNDS  |  HISTORY

EARLIEST  log cabins

Nothnagle Cabin in a Swedish settlement on the Delaware River, built in-between 1638 and 1643, is considered the oldest log construction in America. Left, log cabins were even adapted as a 1840 presidential campaign symbol.

Colonial French fur traders and settlers had introduced vertical log construction in the 17th century. During the 17th and 18th centuries, new waves of Eastern and Central Europeans, including Swiss and Germans, came to America bringing their knowledge of log construction. Even the Scotch-Irish, the stone houses of their native country to log construction, and contributed to spreading it across the frontier. In the Mississippi Valley, 

Through the late 18th and early 19th centuries, frontier settlers erected log cabins as they cleared land, winding their way south in and along the Appalachian valleys through the back country areas of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, moving westward across the Appalachian Mountain barrier into the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys into Kentucky and Tennessee, and as far to the southwest as eastern Texas.

 

Log buildings are known to have been constructed as temporary shelters by soldiers during the Revolutionary War, not only to build houses, but also commercial structures, schools, churches, gristmills, barns, corn cribs and a variety of outbuildings.

Proper maintenance and repairs requires real historical experts who understand how and why early constructions methods worked, and why modern approaches more often create irreversible log damage when applied.