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Encyclopedia > Log cabin
Replica log cabin at Valley Forge, USA
Replica log cabin at Valley Forge, USA

A log cabin is a small house built from logs. It is a fairly simple type of log house; they were built both in rural areas and in cities in timber-rich regions, around the world, but particularly in the northern hemisphere. Log structures in the US were first constructed by Swedes in what is now south-east Pennsylvania, c. 1638,and as such were not used by the first English settlers in the United States. There are few log cabins that date from the 18th century still standing in the US; most were not intended as permanent dwellings and as time passed they were often converted into out buildings for coops, animal shelter or other utilitarian uses. When cabins were built with the intention of applying siding, the logs were usually hewn on the outside to facilitate the application of the siding. When logs were hewn on the inside as well they often were covered with a variety of materials, ranging from plaster over lath, or wallpaper. Some older buildings in the American Midwest and the Canadian Prairies are actually log structures covered with clapboards or other materials. Nineteenth century cabins that were used as dwellings were occasionally first plastered on the interior. See the O'Farrell Cabin (ca. 1865) in Boise, Idaho where a backed wallpaper was used over newspaper. Or the C.C.A. Christenson cabin in Ephraim Utah (ca 1880) which was plastered over willow lath. The Utah cabin was a home and later a coop when the property changed hands. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Image File history File links Mergefrom. ... With roots in eastern and western hemispheres, the tradition of loghouse construction is both widespread and long lasting. ... Log cabin may refer to: Log cabin, a small house built from logs Log home, a term preferred by most contemporary log home builders Log cabin campaign, when a candidate (usually for President) attempts to portray himself as a simple, man of the people Log Cabin, Texas, a city in... Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 5423 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Valley Forge Categories: U.S. history images ... Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 5423 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Valley Forge Categories: U.S. history images ... Recreation of a cabin in which soldiers would have lived at Valley Forge Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, was the site of the camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 in the American Revolutionary War. ... Logging is the process in which trees are cut down usually as part of a timber harvest which is good for the environment. ... A log home (or log house) is technically the same thing as a log cabin, a house typically made from logs that have not been milled into conventional lumber. ... The Midwest is a common name for a region of the United States of America. ... Map of the Canadian Prairie provinces, which include boreal forests, taiga, and mountains as well as the prairies (proper). ... Clapboard, also known as bevel siding or lap siding (with regional variants as to the exact definitions of these terms), is a board used typically for exterior horizontal siding that has one edge thicker than the other and where the board above laps over the one below. ... “Boise” redirects here. ...


Traditional log buildings in North America

Log cabins were built from logs laid horizontally and interlocked on the ends with notches, although there are many log cabins that are laid up without notches and simply spiked together. This is not common as it is not as structurally sound as notched log walls, but modern building methods allow this short-cut. See the Syringa B&B lodge in Salmon, Idaho as an example. Salmon is a city located in Lemhi County, Idaho. ...

Details of cabin corner joint with squared off logs
Details of cabin corner joint with squared off logs

The most important aspect of cabin building is the site upon which the cabin was built. Site selection provided the cabin with both sun, light and drainage to make the inhabitants better able to cope with the rigors of frontier or rural life, but proper site selection also placed the home in a location that was best suited to manage the farm or ranch of the owners. When the first pioneers built cabins they were able to "cherry pick" the best logs for cabins. These would be old growth trees with few limbs (knots) and be straight with little taper. Logs of this type didn't need to be hewn to fit well together, as careful notching would minimize the size of the chink (space between the logs) and reduce the amount of chinking (sticks or rocks) or daubing (mud) needed to fill the chink. Log Cabin corner joint detail Image copyleft: Image taken by me, released under GFDL Pollinator 04:57, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC) ( ) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Log Cabin corner joint detail Image copyleft: Image taken by me, released under GFDL Pollinator 04:57, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC) ( ) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...

The length of one log is generally the length of one wall, although this was not a limitation for most good cabin builders.

The process of building a cabin began with the selection of the building site. It may need to be cleared or not. Decisions had to be made about the type of cabin to be built. Styles varied greatly from one part of the US to another. The size of the cabin, the number of stories, type of roof, the orientation of doors and windows all needed to be taken into account when the cabin was laid out. In addition the source of the logs, the source of stone and the available labor either human or animal had to be considered. Timber sources that were further away may have limited the size of the cabin.

Cabins corners were often set on a large rock; if the cabin was large other stones would have been used at other points along the sill (bottom log). Thresholds, since they were usually cut into the sill, were supported with rock as well. These stones are found below the corners of many 19th century cabins even today as they are being restored. Cabins were set on foundations both to keep them out of any damp soil but also to allow for storage or cellars to be constructed below the cabin. Cabins with earth floors have no need for foundations.

Log cabin in Minnesota
Log cabin in Minnesota

Cabins were constructed using a variety of notches. There is considerable confusion about the nature of notch types and possible European connections. Notches can vary within ethnic groups as well as between ethnic groups. It is almost futile to worry about this sort of issue yet one finds discussions of these in many texts. Notches vary on a single building so it is hard to argue that any particular group used one notch type exclusively. Image File history File links Minnesota_family_1890. ... Image File history File links Minnesota_family_1890. ...

Log cabins can be constructed with either a purlin roof structure or a rafter roof structure. A purlin roof consists of horizontal logs that are notched into the gable wall logs which are progressively shortened to form the characteristic triangular gable end. The steepness of the roof is determined by the reduction in the size of each gable wall log and the number of gable wall logs. Flatter roofed cabins might have only 2 or 3 gable wall logs. Very steep roofs might have as many gable wall logs as a full story. Issues concerning the amount of eave overhang and if there was to be a porch also influenced the layout of the cabin.

The decision about which roof often was based on the sort of material that would be usd to cover the roof. Where sawn lumber was available rafters of dimensional lumber became popular. These roofs typify many log cabins built in the 20th century, having full cut 2x4 rafters covered with skip sheeting and cedar shingles. Purlin roofs found in rural settings and locations where sawn lumber was not available often were covered with long hand split shingles that covered two shingles and part of the space between another.

Interior of a recreated log cabin.
Interior of a recreated log cabin.

Log cabins reached their peak of complexity and elaboration in the Adirondack style cabins of the mid 18th century. These formed the basis for many United States Park Service lodges built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Log cabin building never died out or fell out of favor though it was surpassed by the needs of the a growing urban America. During the 1930's the Civilian Conservation Corps built many log cabins throughout the west for the Forest Service and the Park Service. Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood was built during this time and was dedicated by FDR. ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (2500x1667, 1307 KB) Summary Interior of a recreation of a log cabin at Conner Prairie living history museum in Fishers, Indiana. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (2500x1667, 1307 KB) Summary Interior of a recreation of a log cabin at Conner Prairie living history museum in Fishers, Indiana. ... Adirondack may mean: Adirondack Mountains (United States) (also known as the Adirondacks) Adirondack (Amtrak), an Amtrak passenger rail route connecting New York City and Montreal Adirondack (hut), a type of three-walled semi-cabin, with open fronts, found at some developed campsites Adirondack (house), an American style of house construction... The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States government agency that deals with U.S. National Parks and U.S. National Monuments. ... CCC workers on road construction, Camp Euclid, Ohio 1936 The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a work relief program for young men from unemployed families, established on March 19, 1933 by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. ... Logo of the U.S. Forest Service. ... West end Timberline Lodge is a mountain lodge at 6,000 ft (1,800 m) on the south side of Mount Hood in Oregon, USA, about 60 miles (95 km) east of Portland, Oregon. ... This article is about the tallest mountain in Oregon. ... FDR may refer to: Franklin Delano Roosevelt - The 32nd President of the United States, Flight data recorder - device used to record aircraft and pilot behavior in order to analyze accidents (usually called black boxes by the news media). ...

In 1930, the world's largest log cabin was constructed as a private resort in Montebello, Quebec, Canada. Often described as a "log château", it now serves as the Château Montebello hotel. Montebello is a village located in the La Petite Nation area of the Ottawa River region of Quebec, Canada. ... The Château Montebello in 1930. ...

The modern version of a log cabin is the log home which is a house built most often from premilled logs. The logs are quite visible on the exterior and sometimes interior of the house. With the advent of cranes and modern construction and design techniques (such as CAD). These cabins are mass manufactured, traditionally in Scandinavian countries and increasingly in Eastern Europe, using squared milled logs and pre-cut for easy self build. Log homes are popular in rural areas, and even in some suburban locations. In the American West, McMansions (houses of over 3,000 sq ft) of log and stone are turning up in many resort communities. And kit log homes are major consumers of logs in the US west. Modern milled or machine-profiled log home. ... A modern crawler type derrick crane with outriggers. ... “CAD” redirects here. ...

In Europe, modern log cabins are often built in gardens and used as summerhouses, home offices or as an additional room in the garden. Summer houses and cottages are often built from logs in northern Europe.

Chinking refers to the mortar/infill material between the logs in the construction of log cabins and other log-walled structures. Traditionally, dried Pleurozium schreberi and Hylocomium splendens were used in the Nordic countries as an insulator between logs. Mortar holding weathered bricks. ...


William Henry Harrison and the Whigs used a log cabin as a symbol to show he was a man of the people. Other U.S. political figures after him also used their upbringing in log cabins for the same purpose. It is well known by most Americans that Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin. Presidents Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan were also born into log houses. A total of seven United States Presidents were born in log cabins [1]. The connection with Lincoln has caused the cabins to be used by Republicans who call themselves Log Cabin Republicans. William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was an American military leader, politician, and the ninth President of the United States. ... The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Andrew Jackson (disambiguation). ... James Buchanan (April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the 15th president of the United States (1857–1861). ... For the pop band, see Presidents of the United States of America. ... A Log Cabin Republican poster, with the typical use of Abraham Lincoln The Log Cabin Republicans is a political organization in the United States, consisting of gay, lesbian and bisexual supporters of the Republican Party. ...

The Log Cabin is also used as a vernacular reference to the Internet. Referring to the solitary, shut-in nature of computer geeks in spite of the internet as a communications technology.


There is a very popular children's toy called, Lincoln Logs, consisting of various notched dowel rods, colored like logs. The toy is named after Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin in rural Kentucky and grew up in one in Indiana. A farm made from Lincoln Logs. ... Wood dowel Dowel joint A dowel is a pin, usually made of wood, plastic or metal, used to secure two objects together. ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... Official language(s) English Capital Indianapolis Largest city Indianapolis Area  Ranked 38th  - Total 36,418 sq mi (94,321 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 270 miles (435 km)  - % water 1. ...

See also

  • Scadding Cabin
  • Burdei a Ukrainian-Canadian pioneer building mixing elements of a log cabin and a sod hosue

Scaddin Cabin is the oldest home in Toronto and found on the ground of the Canadian National Exhibition. ... A burdei is a type of dugout-style shelter, somewhat between a sod house and log cabin. ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
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Log cabin Kits and logs home packages by Advantage Logs offers log home kits for building your dream log home or log cabin.
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Log cabin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (881 words)
The crudest log cabins were built like palisades, with logs of various sizes set vertically in a trench to create the walls.
This made the logs stack better, with less chinking between them, and (in the case of fully squared logs) allowed the walls to be flat enough to be covered with plaster or paneling on the inside and clapboard on the outside.
In Europe, modern log cabins are often built in gardens and used as summerhouses, home offices or as an additional room in the garden.
  More results at FactBites »



Emma Cay
6th September 2011
I love log cabin designs. They have such a homey feel to them. I've always wanted a custom home. http://mcbrick.com/renovations/

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