1800s Log Cabin Purchased


By Roger Austin. From the Nov - Dec 2013 newsletter.

One of the last remaining unmodified log cabins in the region has been purchased by the Museum, an exciting event made possible by a timely donation and the willingness of its former owners, Gerald and Alberta Hyde, to part with it. It is located on Highway 68 west of Woodbridge Corners. In 2014 the cabin will be disassembled. Its components will be cleaned, treated for insects, and placed in storage to allow study. Reconstruction at the Museum will begin in 2015. It will become the center of a future Pioneer Farmstead reflecting the life of settlers in the early 1800s. The cabin is 19 X 24 feet and clad with board and batten. The walls are built of wide virgin logs hewn on both sides and fit with pigeon-tail corners that require no pegging. The floor consists of wide boards of virgin timber nailed to heavy hewn sleepers extending the width of the house. The ceiling is supported by 6 X 6 hewn joists only 6 feet above the floor. There is a sleeping loft under the roof. There is a 14 foot wide shed-roofed addition across the back of the original house. One section is of hewn timbers and the other is of hewn and sawn timbers. The Museum is seeking help from those who are familiar with the cabin which was occupied until about two years ago. The names of occupants, early photographs, and other historical information are needed. A committee will be formed to support efforts to restore the building, do research, and help to make it come back to life.

The log cabin will be the centerpiece of the future Pioneer Farm. It will be an interesting effort to reconstruct and furnish the building in a proper fashion. At the time the cabin was built there were many fine homes near the St. Lawrence River. Yet the first owners chose to build a log structure. Were they poor or just frugal? Could they afford furnishings such as a stove, or did they cook at the hearth? An investigation of the former owners and of those in the area should shed light on some of these important questions.

By Roger Austin. From the Nov - Dec 2014 newsletter.

Log Cabin to Move in May - Join the Excitement

In 2013 an early 1800s log cabin was purchased by the Museum. In May of 2015 we will begin the first phase of its relocation and restoration. This will include documentation, disassembly, and insect treatment of the entire wood­ en structure. Each log, board, and rafter will be carefully tagged, photo­ graphed, and measured. When readied, the components will be transported to a storage building. Once stored, all the data will be reviewed and plans will be made for its erection and restoration at the Museum.

Disassembly will begin inside the structure. All modem components will be carefully removed and discarded. This will include sheetrock, paneling, wire, insulation, and plumbing. Samples of nails, chinking, and other original materials will be saved. Nail holes and other features will be recorded and studied to determine their purpose and identify original fixtures. Floor boards will then be carefully removed and preserved for later reinstallation.

Removal of exterior cladding will follow. Most of these materials will be too weathered for reuse, but a record of them will be maintained. Some will be saved for repurposing. When all the logs are exposed, the tin roof will be re­ moved to expose the older wood shingles beneath. Again, study will be done and details recorded before they too are removed.

At this point things should move quickly. The rafters will be unpegged and carefully set aside. The big comer pegs will be removed from the top comers of the log sides. Then one by one the logs will be lowered and loaded directly on waiting trucks. When all the wood parts are stored, the foundations will be studied, measured, and recorded. Their dimensions and style of construction will help determine the design of the new foundations.

Many important questions will be answered as disassembly takes place. Where were the original doors, windows, and fireplace? Was there a cooking hearth? How were the logs chinked? What was the original type of exterior and interior cladding - if any. What did the original attic stair look like?

A team of Log Cabin Volunteers is being assembled to complete this phase of work. We need photographers, scribes, carpenters, cleaners, haulers and others to do the job. Work will begin May 6, 2015 and include some weekends. Our completion target is May 30. If you can help, please contact Connie Martin, email ... cjmartin54@email.com, Roger Austin, email ... rsaustin123@earthlink.net or email ... slpowermuseum.com