Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lovingly fun rebuilding

 A free Saturday afternoon, what better to do than go see a 'new' log building.
I was invited out to give my opinion on the best way to do some chinking and got to see this little gem.
Once a manger or barn, it is now being turned into a little out-building for poker games and evenings sitting on the porch cooking and watching the camp fire (a Daniel Boone like man-cave?).

Although the building still has round logs (and had probably never been chinked before) it should be no trouble chinking between the logs.
The owners are doing a great job keeping a rustic appeal using old lumber where ever possible.
Although still a little way from being finished, the poker table (old butcher block) sits inside and the porch is already looking real nice for a rocker.
Porch posts made for local cider trees.

And the owner also had a split rail fence he had done himself.

Once finished I can see them spending lots of time sitting on the porch.
 Of course any trip out to a new building can also invite a new trip to see other structures. And it did.
I had to drive through Pendelton Mo. so made a point of checking to see if any old buildings still stood.

This nice, well preserved school was still in town.

 Well maintained (I would love to get inside some day) and it looked like, through the windows, a lot of original stuff inside.
 What was unusual, at least a first for me, was that all the windows, except the two by the door, were on one side, the west side.
And the chalk boards were on the east and north side.
I don't know if this is where the chalk boards had always been, but that is where they are now.

I am guessing this window configuration was to give good light during the day, but not much glare on the boards while class was going on.

Just a guess however.

Inside it looked as if it still had it's big old stove.
This old church still stood nearby, but it had been re-muddled with new siding.
I know, you have to protect them. But picking the right siding is important.

Just a pet-peeve of mine.
Probably a once thriving farm town near the railroad, the highway system passed it up by about half a mile and not much is left.
Population in 2010 was around 50.

This pretty, old farm house and the school and church and a few houses are all that still mark Pendelton.
And this run down old store.

Oh, yea, . . . they still have a tavern.

But the log cabin and old school are cool.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Also from Oct 2012



 I have not updated the reconstruction of the Old O'Fallon Mo Fort Zumwalt in a while.

This first photo is of the fort in the late 19th century and this is how it looked at it's most complete.
 This photo is from 1937 when the fort was being taken down after being mapped and researched.

The old stone fireplace was all they left and it stood for many years. But it finally came down also.
 Here is how it stands now, looking at the same side as the 1937 photo. That would be the east-south-east.
 A little closer.
 With the center and west sections being worked on.

 Rebuilt fireplace serving the center section and the west section.
 Floor joinery.
 A table lap joining the two sections.
It is really hard to join two cabins together that are not built at the same time, and this would not be a preferred method.
They are doing it this way to replicate the original.

There is probably a good reason the original builders built it like this.
One reason would be shortage of man power, so short logs were used to make it easier for just a couple people and a horse to do the work.
 North side of center and west section.
The walls are not as high on this side, so we can see the floor joins a little better.
 Same but longer view.
 Really nice ax work on the floors joining near the fireplace where a full log could not span the width  of the floor. They would probably use a dove-tail joint at the connections to keep the logs from pulling out.
 A closer look.

 Near the chimney the logs also could not run the complete span of the walls, so a tongue in groove join would have to do.

Once above the opening of the fireplace, logs could start spanning the room again.
Notice the shelf built into the fireplace to help support that first log.
You can also see the tongue running up to the first complete log. It would be notched into the bottom of that log.

South side wall.
 The groove on the south wall, up close.
Note the tongue on the first log.

 The pile is getting smaller.
From the east.

From Oct.


 We had another busy weekend. Even for a three day weekend we kept it pretty full.
We got in soccer, times with grandma's, hikes, a carnival and some log cabin hunting.

This first one is a very old cabin that has been lovingly restored and remodeled.
I first came across this one about six years ago when I was out on one of my expeditions before daughter came along.
I had stopped and asked the owner of the farm if I could go down and take some pictures of this old log home.
 I told him I had worked on a few and always loved finding ones I had not seen before.
He said sure, and if I had any ideas on how to go about fixing it up to let him know.
He was hoping I could do the work if I was interested.
I looked at the place, a very fine 125 plus year old cabin, that was probably the original farm house for the valley it was sitting in.
As with most cabins, all the logs were in pretty good shape except the ones near the bottom.
Usually these old homes were built on very little foundation with the expectation that they were, hopefully, going to be temporary till a better house could be afforded and built. This usually allowed for water and snow to rot out the bottom logs after many years. Even if they were put up on some rocks, with no foundation down to frost line, the rocks would eventually sink in the soil.
And this is what had happened to this one. The base logs were rotted away for the most part.
It was a fine old two-crib building with a dog-trot between the two cabins.
I told him I was sorry that I could not do the work and suggested that however he was going to restore it, one of the first things he needed to do was raise the whole building to get up off the ground and replace the bottom logs.
I will never know if he took my advice or whether the men who did the work came up with that on their own, but they definetly fixed the foundation.
And although my critical eye finds lots of things I don't like with this restoration, who ever did the work did an excellent job. And the faults I find are more in appearance than in workmanship.

 The view from the front, which is the first two pictures, is the most appealing. They have leveled up all the logs and placed them on a nice foundation, which now includes a basement.
If it is not located where the original foundation sat, it is real close.
The dog-trot has been elegantly closed in to make more living space between the two cabins and a nice front door has been added with a covered porch.
 Once you go around the back the cabin becomes very interesting.
At one time really cool, and at the same time a little overbearing for the sturcture.
An additional room has been added with either logs from another cabin or newer logs. And the logs, if they are new, have been well worked by someone who knew what they were doing.
You can tell by the difference in the thickness of the logs between the front two rooms and the addition that they are not of the same time period.
(Count how many logs make a wall.)
Although the three porches would make for great entertainment, I don't like the shape of the roof or the fact that, from the back, the addition overpowers the structure.
The only other complaint I have is that the stones used in the porches, pillars and entrance way do not match the foundation, nor are they of a type found in the area, nor put down like stone would have been on log home construction. They remind one more of something that would be done out west.
Over all I would give the restoration and remodeling a 98, for the only flaws are, to me historical and visual.
If it were given to me someday as a second home,. . . I would even bring it up.
I will make it a goal to find the pictures from a few years ago to do a before and after show.

Help Home Hunter showing the difference. between the foundation stone and pillar/fireplace stones.
 Showing off the front door.
 Love the door, mildly dislike the stone.













More to my liking.

 This fine restoration is now a museum in Marthasville Mo., very much a part of Daniel Boone's old stomping grounds.

This is more of a restoration than a remodeling.
Six over six windows have been included.
In the old days, glass was hard to form in big sheets, so smaller pains would be made and fitted into frames. Six over six was the most common.
 The Dog-trot has been very nicely framed and stoned to make more interior living space.
More many years, probably, the dog-trot would have been lift open to provide a shade area around the house to do household chores or to sit or sleep in the summer. And to give it it's name, it is where the family dog would hang out.


The logs have a wonderful brown color, like newly cut logs.
Logs in real time would only stay brown for a short time.
Sun light would eventually turn theme grey.
Note how the stone work is more typical of what would be found in Missouri.
The white squares in the logs above the windows would be where the upper story floor beams would be in the logs.
This would be called 'a story and a half dogtrot cabin'.
The stairs going up would be in the dog-trot section.

 Another cabin has been placed at one end.
Note how the mortar chinking is brown, where in the first cabin discussed on this page the mortar chinking is very white.
Although now made out of cement, chinking would originally be made out of mud, with straw or horse hair mixed in to provide a binding.
It would probably have been patch or redone several time till finally cement was used.
Many restorations will use colored cement now a days to replicate mud.

 Fine dove tail corners.


Help Home Hunter was napping when we went by this one.


The interior is set up with period pieces.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Elsberry and a new log cabin . . .

I had to take a run up to Elsberry Mo today, and, as always, took my camera.

 Elsberry is a small Mississippi flood plain farm town located about half way between St Charles and Clarksville.

It is fairing better than many small rural towns with a very active Main St and many fine buildings still in good shape.



 Main St looking towards Ill. and the Mississippi and the fertile farm land.

Most of the building have some active business inside.
 Looks a little bit like the old school house posted the other day, but in much better shape.
Sign above the door says 'The Old Hall'.
 This cabin is on the drive to Elsberry and I was able to stop on the way back.

It has sat here for as long as I can remember and may be setting on its original site.
The corner foundation blocks have either been removed and replaced, or the cabin was raised a bit to protect it.
 This fine outbuilding sits next to it.
 The out building.

Although it has been re-muddled a bit, they are keeping it in OK shape.

It doesn't look like it has been used much for several years, but at least they keep a good roof on it and the grounds around it trimmed.