I’m back after a year-long hiatus. Things have been very busy on my end and life’s brought about changes and new adventures. I hope to be more active with the blog this coming fall. As part of that renewed energy, I plan to venture into other pioneer-era categories: barns, churches, non-Norwegian-American log houses and other types of houses, etc. I still have a lot of log house related content, but post after post about nearly the same thing gets boring and old.
And WordPress is an awkward platform. Their system doesn’t work well with photos, formatting is often screwy and photos take forever to upload, especially with my slow internet connection. If anyone has suggestions or alternatives, I’d love to hear about them.
So, to get on with it, here’s today’s building. I found this place just yesterday afternoon. I was driving back from La Crosse, WI and decided to take the backroads. Instead of the usual 1 hr 10 minute drive, it ended up taking me 3 hrs 20 minutes. I found this sweet little house in Houston Co, MN, not far from the Iowa border. The front part of the house is log and the back, later addition is framed. The house is surely German built, as its floor plan and overall form is very different than from what I’m used to. The main door to the house enters into a large room and immediately to its left is a smaller room. The wall separating the two is nothing more than two opposing faces of vertical tongue and groove board.. It appears as though the smaller room served as a bedroom. The staircase to the second floor is located in the back left corner of the building with its door exiting into the big room and the bulk of the staircase is inside the smaller room. Underneath the staircase is a closet, whose wall is framed in a beautiful tongue and groove, oak look-alike faux finish. The faux finish carries on throughout the first floor of the original log core on the lower chair rail wainscot and on the paneled and tongue and groove board doors.
The first floor is heated by a still-present stove located inside the big room but centered in the opening between the big and smaller rooms. Its chimney enters the second floor directly above the unit, passes to the ceiling of the second floor, makes a 90 degree turn, and feeds into a masonry chimney that is mounted on a shelf above the log walls on the west gable of the building. The masonry chimney exits the house through the gable peak.
All the logs I could see were oak and the corners full dovetailed. The original daub between log courses is earthen: nothing more than mud with a fibrous organic bonder material. I’ve never encountered a non lime-based log daub in Minnesota or Iowa. Perhaps its use speaks to tradition, but likely more so to frugality and practicality.
I didn’t find door or window hardware to suggest the house is older than about 1870. The house was electrified at some point but never plumbed. It appears to have been abandoned (just guessing) perhaps 40 years ago or so. I ooo and awe about all of these, I know, but it’s not too often I find such a house as perfectly preserved as this one. Original doors and windows, original wall coverings, original hardware, original siding, etc, etc, etc…this place is pretty special!