27 October 2009

a Cabin lurks beneath?

Lakeville Cabin?

I have had my eyes more attuned to spotting potential log cabin structures lurking beneath layers of asphalt, aluminum and sometimes vinyl siding. This bizarre sixth "sense" I have developed has come from two fairly recent discoveries of log buildings in Marshall County, both in West Township. One is sitting disassembled in a barn....dangerous prospect since I've been looking for one.

Cook Cabin, West Twp., Marshall County

I've also had plenty of opportunities to acquaint myself with log structures in watching the Boots-Myers Cabin near Argos, IN be taken down and reassembled at Pottawatomie Wildlife Park near Tippecanoe, IN and also the Linden Cabin be relocated from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to the city of Portage. Recently I inspected one that is for sale locally.


Typical cabin structure with a single window right of door

Simple early settlement cabins were normally constructed of poplar logs in full or half-dove tail joinery at the corners. They were usually not larger than about 16'-20' long by 12'-18' deep. They normally had a loft accessed by a set of stairs with "winders" in one of the corners, usually opposite the side with the front door. Depending on their size they were typically one or two rooms; most of the early cabins I am familiar with locally had just the single first floor room. The front door would normally be centered, or near centered, with either a single window to one side or a pair flanking the doorway. There would also typically be a small window centered in each gable for the loft. Finally, the overall proportion is usually a give-away with a fairly small footprint juxtaposed with slightly taller than normal walls to accommodate the loft, but maintaining a fairly minimal slope to the roof. And, despite our romantic idea of a log cabin, were covered with wood siding as soon as the pioneer could afford it.


Boots-Myers Cabin undergoing restoration near Tippecanoe

So, given all of that mind numbing information, the last several trips to South Bend on the Historic Michigan Road (U.S. 31) through Lakeville sent my cabin-radar up as I studied this little mint green metal sided house. The "Lakeville Cabin" is nearly identical to the Boots-Myers Cabin, considered to be the oldest structure in Marshall County constructed about 1836 if I am correct. The cool thing is that if it is indeed a log structure hiding under that siding (minus the additions to the right & left) it may well be the only log cabin on the Historic Michigan Road......although I have been studying another structure north of Argos recently. The Michigan Road would have been constructed through Lakeville in about 1836, probably dating the cabin to about that time.

I'm anxious to make some contacts in Lakeville-the little place looks vacant. And I am still hoping for a cabin in the woods someday-that's all I ask. For more Historic Michigan Road information go to http://www.historicmichiganroad.org/


UPDATE

Partner in crime, blogger Jim Grey, reminded me of this cabin he shot in Ripley County along the Michigan Road. Oops. Well, now maybe we have two.

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