Saturday, August 28, 2010

A 1700s KENTUCKY LOG CABIN-- Sunday Simplicities

Last weekend, when I drove my son to the Amtrak station in Maysville, Kentucky, we stopped at several interesting spots along the drive. One was a place called Washington. It was a "place" along a two-lane country road that was settled in the late 1700s and still retained remnants of that first settlement period.

Originally, in the 1790s the area around Washington contained around 119 log cabins. Above is one of the original log homes remaining in situ (not moved from its original place). There are only about ten of the original number left in the area. 

As one can tell from looking at the above photo, the log home is rather tilted from its years of use and exposure to the elements. But up until recently it was a Visitors Center for people to stop in and find out about the area. 

The first thing I noticed about the place were the shutters. I was not familiar with these types on old historic homes and wondered if it was some type of retro fit to make it look charming. A little research and I came up with the photo above from the Library of Congress. The same type of shutters were being used on this 1862 photo of a gin house in North Carolina. I suspect that the shutters are a southern indigenous type. It would be fitting that the log home would  adopt a naive type as it is constructed simply.    

The windows, I believe, are perhaps original but I can't say for sure. Many homes from the late 1700s had 6 over 6 panes in the windows or a 9 pane (lights) sash (McAlester). The chinking of course is recent as most old chinking had to be replaced every five years or so.

The original builder/s must have been quite short as my son would have to duck to get in the front door if it were open. I suppose that is why someone put the sign above the door that says, "duck."

Right now there is no one living in the place. but it is being well maintained. 

There was a sign out front that said that the home had been used as a residence up until the 1950s. At one time there were actually two families that lived in the log cabin.

The above photo is the back of the house. It shows the frame addition that was added in 1805. The roof is still being kept in what was probably the original type -- wood shake shingle. There are two chimneys -- one to the right in the photo and another to the left on the addition. 

The chimneys are old brick. I wondered if they had been limestone originally as so many of the historic homes  in Kentucky have it as chimney material. I called the Washington Visitor Center the day after I got back --  I found it online and I talked to a Jeanette Tolle. She said the chimneys were original and that the bricks had been produced right on the property.

I want to go back to this area when I have time. It certainly is an area rich in vernacular architecture.

Sunday Simplicities is about -- my  outlook on life. Now in retirement I am observing new horizons -- opportunities have surfaced.  Economies have changed as well as my perspective on what is truly important in my simple life.  Stay tuned. 


  1. Love that house, it's certainly stood the test of time, even if it's listing to starboard!
    Was trying to find the particular article to link to but can't - a few years ago an historic house in Australia was being renovated when they discovered not only the original wattle and daub construction inside the walls but that they'd nailed the original tent up as part of the wall structure before plaster and brick was affordable.

  2. Wonderful old building! Always nice to see them being well maintained.

  3. I celebrate ALL opportunities that come your way as a result of your inviting hand, guiding us gently and lovingly through an unfolding retrospect of Kentucky, Barbara. How I enjoy your posts and look forward to many more! This was delightful! My "Old Kentucky Home!" The preservation is remarkable!

    Finally, the "Duck" was great, too. I have a duck exactly like that duck. And....more to the point, I have a place that needs that duck as a warning! I am going to move the duck to the header so people won't...take a header! :-)) BTW, I love the photo of you on your blog!


  4. Wonderful that the log cabin has been maintained in such good shape. Very interesting spot.

  5. Jayne -- Thanks for the comment and the story about a historic house in your part of the world. It is amazing to think about the challenges of the early settlers and the methods they devised to be comfortable. A tent nailed to the interior -- now that would be interesting to see and record. -- barbara

  6. Vicki -- I feel like a stranger in paradise when I enter areas that hold so much old folkways. I feel I have just tapped the surface here in Kentucky.-- barbara

  7. Elora -- I moved to Kentucky in August, three years ago. My move was based on nothing in particular -- I just felt drawn to the area. I have not been sorry at all -- it is full of twists and turns and delightful folks.

    Thanks for the nice comment on my new photo. Thought it was about time as the other photo was four years old.

    The DUCK sign. Yes, that would be a great place to put your duck sign -- on the header of your shortie door. I think short doors are so quaint!

    -- barbara

  8. barefootheart -- I wish the log cabin was open the day I stopped there. I looked in a window and could see the low wood ceiling and wide wood floors. thanks for the comment -- barbara