Church Road House, New Albin, IA

This was my lesson in the value of documentation.  I found this sweet old house in October of 2007.  I snapped a few photos and told myself I had to come back. Well, I did the next spring and the house was a heaping pile of rubble.  They pushed it over and extracted the logs with an excavator as far as I could tell.  So, these are basically the photos I have.

The house was on Church Road in northeastern Allamakee, just about eight miles directly west of New Albin off Iowa River Road (the best drive in all of northeast Iowa, trust me).  The house measured something like 18′ x 24′, a story and 2/3 in height, and of oak logs.  The corners were notched in steeple or the inverted-V, a notch usually associated in NE Iowa with the Germans. Allamakee County- unlike it’s younger neighbor to the west, Winneshiek- was a melting pot for a more immigrant groups.

Out front near the road sat the squat stone building, most likely a spring house.  Behind it and a bit to the south was a granary that had been been made into a ramshackle-like  workshop.  It was leaning close to collapse, but I remember the timber framed shell made out of sawn pine.  A later improvement, no doubt.

The house itself was really amazing.  Notice the area above the front door where the logs are exposed- that’s where the front porch was.  The front entrance led into a room that was divided just left of the door.  Beyond that, to the right, was the second room.  The staircase to the second floor was butted up against the northeast exterior log wall and cut the second room a bit smaller than the main.  There was a piano from LaCrosse and a beautiful two-light brass fixture.  Except for the outside perimeter of both downstairs rooms, the floor had collapsed into the basement.  Also notice the curtains and the smallish windows.  They don’t get scarier than that.

The house had some amazing faux finishes.  The door with the swirls is really special.  Notice the door latch on the board door to the right.  I usually don’t steal things- hardware, furniture, or otherwise-but I will admit I carried out a hefty pile of green canning jars.  I just can’t resist.  There was also a mechanical prosthetic metal-levered half-an-arm buried under blankets upstairs.  Damn, I wish I snagged that one, too.


South elevation: exposed logs outline original porch

West Elevation

West-south elevation




faux door



Steeple or inverted v


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