July 26: Let’s build a log cabin!


I’ll show these construction methods from oldest to newest.  Some of these cabins were constructed before there was a sawmill in the area and some after.  I think you can tell by looking at the cabins which were “before” and which were “after”.022

Because these logs were hewn by hand, there is a lack of precision and symmetry.  The builder had to used a lot of mortar to seal the chinks and the wall is definitely not plumb.023

This is another method from the same year.  Our guide said that a man from Scandinavia brought this method to Alaska.


This is somewhat better, I think.018

This is the method used to construct the first school in the area.019

It looks sturdy, if nothing else.017

Notice how the wall of the school is slanted.  This was done so that the windows would capture as much light as possible.  Other than sunlight, the school used 3 coal oil lanterns for light.041

This one-room school served grades 1-8.  Students had to go to Kenai to attend high school.  Roads were scarce and paved roads were scarcer.  Our guide lived about 10 miles outside of Soldotna when she was growing up.  She had to hitch a ride with someone from the ever-present road construction crews to Soldotna, where she caught the school bus to Kenai to attend high school.  It was the same routine in reverse after school.  It made for some long days.006 Jerry is standing in front of the school holding the Alaska state flag with the Big Dipper and the North Star.014

Several weeks ago when we were in Seward, we told you about Benny Benson, the 13 year old orphan who won the contest to design Alaska’s flag.  Recently, someone in Anchorage found an old box that contained some of the other entries.  Many of them had disintegrated, but some survived.  These are some of the other entries.  Do you see one that you like better than Benny’s?050

This is an Alaskan food cache built in the 1940s.  Originally it was about 15′ off the ground and would have been built well away from the family’s cabin.015 This is Damon Hall which served as a meeting hall and town recreation center.015

This is the type of construction used on Damon Hall.016

These logs fit together with precision.

  1. Barb H. said:

    Log cabin are neat. Richard can tell you all about them, he never even got to use the one he built before he left! 😦
    Terry I think this is the firs picture I’ve seen with you.

  2. mary lea wallace said:

    Thanks for the fascinating tour! I like saddle-notch best. Maybe Berg made small doorway to discourage (big) bears?

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