Log cabin living area

Surprising Facts About Log Cabins

People have been long been struck by cabin fever from way back around 3500 B.C. to the current times. Log cabins have seen many changes through history and have gone from being simple wood- structure shelters to luxurious and sprawling log homes for the rich and famous.  Log cabins are breathtakingly beautiful, efficient and cost-effective too. So more people have taken to building and living in log homes. Here are some surprising facts about log homes.

1. The Humble Beginnings Of Log Homes

The origin of log homes is highly debated and it cannot be traced to a particular date. But log cabins came about in Northern Europe around 3500 B.C. during the Bronze Age.

According to Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect, log cabins can be traced to Pontus or what is now North-eastern Turkey, where shelters were built by laying logs on top of each other and gaps filled in with mud. Even Europeans started building their log homes using round logs with an opening in the roof to vent smoke and then evolved to using square logs with double-notch joints.

It was in the 1600s that log cabin construction came to North America, with the Swedish settlers who brought this building customs from their home country to Delaware. Other people believe that the Mennonites were the pioneers who brought it to the Pennsylvanian area in the early 18th century.  It was only in 1862, that the Homestead Act gave homesteaders rights to open land, provided they build homes at least ten by twelve feet in size, with at least one glass window.

2. Noteworthy Log Cabins

Log cabins have long been a symbol of humble origins for settlers and have come to stand for hard work and patriotism in America. A country log home is a major feature of backwoods living. Not many know that 7 US presidents were born in or lived in a log cabin. Some standout names include Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan and Ulysses S Grant. It was with the assassination of President James Garfield that the long history of frontier, log cabin-born presidents came to an end. A replica of the log cabin he was born in near Orange Township, around Moreland Hills, Ohio still stands on the site today. The log cabin was even used as a political tool and badge of honor to drum up support for William Henry Harrison during his presidential campaign. Many rich and influential people now own log homes, including Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Lauren and the late Muhammad Ali.

3. Oldest Log Structures

The Nothnagle Cabin, situated right on the side of Swedesboro Road in Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, is the oldest standing log structure in North America.  The Finnish-made cabin was built in-between 1638 and 1643 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Harry and Doris Rink have been maintaining and looking after the heritage cabin, while living in a newer part of the structure that was built in the early 1900s.They have tried to retain the original design by keeping it as close to the original as possible, even during repair works. In fact even the logs are all original too except for one which was damaged by ivy and had to be replaced. The design highlights of the cabin include dovetail joints and an indoor chimney. Visits to the Rink heritage log home are free.

A few examples of oldest log homes around the world include a timber log home in Finland, which is estimated to be around 4000 years old.  Another old log home reported to have been found near Lake Ladoga, Russia is estimated to have been built around 800BC.

4. The Largest Log Home In The World

Granot Loma, which is a combination of letters from the original owner, Louis Graveraet Kaufman’s three children’s names; Louis, Graveraet and Otto, and his wife Marie, is said to be the largest log cabin in the world. The home, which sits on the shoreline of Lake Superior, is a 26,000 square foot log home mansion. Granot Loma was built in 1923 from Oregon pine and it took 400 Scandinavian builders four years to construct. It was designed by 22 architects and has 50 rooms total, with 23 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. The logs have been wrapped around a steel super-structure built on a six-foot thick cement foundation to complete the home. Granot Loma is on the National Register of Historic Places. Besides many stone fireplaces, carvings of over 50 animals and people, some Native American artwork and a mantel made from a salvaged sunken ship in Lake Superior, there is more to look at.

There is so much more to log cabins than the obvious. Log cabins can be everything you want it to be- from a rustic getaway to a luxury pad. All you have to do is be inspired and start planning.