The Building of Logan House
by Ken Gough

Progress Update - February 2005

Progress Update - May 2005

Logan House Display a Hit - August 2005

Logan House is my winter project (obsession?) that is going to be a combination sutlery and living history base for the civilian ladies of the 64th Ill. The design and construction methods roughly match those of immigrants of both Swiss and Scotch/Irish descent building starter homes from Pennsylvania to Virginia circa 1640-1780s.

A concept drawing is included here although changes are being made to improve the design as I go along. The size is small, however I have documented early homes being made this size. Most would have been slightly larger so I'm going to say that this will be about 3/4 scale.

This is not a farm house but would have been found in a small crossroads village. This would have been built to start a family only to have either been abandoned or passed on to a son in a few years. Our story is of a home that has been passed down over several generations. The house would now serve a couple whose children have moved out to start their own families. Some improvements would have been done over the years (a stove in place of the fireplace) but basically the house has stayed the same. Now if we could only get one or two more together we could start our own village. Humm...

Progress to date:

Di and I went on a quest for a small potbelly stove thinking this would be the best as originally this project was to be a store and not just a house. What we found was a small cook stove with two 'eyes' that was much nicer than we could have hoped to find. A couple parts are missing but all in all a good start to our project.

As you can see, the walls are well under way. The mudsills and the first couple rows of boards are done and we're working our way up the walls. The project is being constructed in my father’s basement. An ex. reenactor himself (with the 12th S.C. but we won't hold that against him) he is also lending a hand with the work.

As each level of boards is finished, we're painting them right away with a finish coat to be applied when it's done. The colors used would have been what was available to the middle or lower class citizens of the mid-1800s.

Only the best for our ladies!

Notching the corners.

Starting up the walls priming as I go.

Jim Gough priming the mudsills.

An idea of the overall size.

Corner detail showing dovetails and overlap.

Progress Update - February 2005

The target I've set to have Logan House finished is the spring drill at Dollinger Farm (April 15-17).  As of now, we seem to be on track and should be ready by that weekend.

The walls are built up about halfway.  We're now starting to cut in the windows and doorway.  The window units are doe and ready for the curtains (I'll leave that one for the womenfolk!)  The bed frame is done and the cording is spliced and stretched.  We still need to make a tick for it, but the quilt top that is being fitted to it is ready for the backing.

Complete window unit as seen from the outside with the shutters open.

Bed frame with cording in place.

Progress Update - May 2005

It’s done!

After almost four months, and missing the target date by only a week, we’re done.

Ladies. It’s now up to you. “If you build it, they will come.” I built it, that was easy. Now you must run it, a little harder. But the fun! Naperville will be the first event for Logan House and we’re looking for any and all ideas to keep things hopping in it. We want everyone who enters to be blown away with the power (er, insanity?) of the 64th civilians. Quilting, knitting, cooking, a party. Please, the list is just starting and we need your help!

Now for the sales pitch.

I’m going to max out my resources just transporting the cabin. I’m not going to have room to carry a lot of furnishings for it. Any of you civilians who would like to help could plan on bringing just one or two things to add to the display. Just let Di or myself know if you would like to help so we don’t end up with thirteen chairs. If we could get some people to bring a few fence rails each we could have a kicken’ entrance to our display.

Still no takers on a second house yet. How about a portable outhouse? Or better yet; can anyone out there think of a way to make a portable garden? Hmmmm……

Beth, peering out through one of our “Portals of Time” thinking of cooling pies on the windowsill. Or more likely of chasing down that thief who stole her pie and giving him his just deserts with the wide end of a broom!

The kitchen as seen through Beth’s window. We are counting on using these windows for the public to look into life in the mid-1800s.

Our dining area. We’re having to cram a lot of display into a small area. As large as we thought this house would be when we started, it’s filling up fast. Ladies, we’re counting on you to keep activities going. The idea is that spectators can come back a number of times to see different skills on display.

Look out candlelight tours! As good as it looks in the day, at night the cabin takes on a whole new feel. We want to make sure that everyone who enters our door feels welcome.

Logan House Display a Hit - August 2005

To all who helped out with the Logan House display, kudos to you! We’ve had the cabin out to four events and it’s gotten better each time. I suppose the best complement we were paid was as we were taking it down at Naperville. A number of people remarked that they thought it was a new building put up by the park. Guess you could also count threats as complements, “If my wife sees that thing, and wants one, you’re toast!”

There seems to have been some misunderstanding about the request we made some time back about contributing to the display. We didn’t mean for members to drop off an item then leave for the weekend. We want YOU! Bring something to display and stay to work it. Best case would be something you could use and explain its use.

If your display requires a great deal of time or space then we need to know about it in advance. I’m in the cabin most of the day sewing but that only takes up a corner. We’ve had good luck stringing a clothes line up for displaying quilts and other items. The only drawback here is reenactors setting up in front of the exterior displays and not letting spectators get to the lines. Please remember that our visitors need access to the whole display.

Transportation of the cabin and its furnishings has been solved with the purchase of a trailer. Unfortunately this has put the project over budget (around $2,400.00) and maxed out my gross weight capabilities. What we have on display now is the most I can physically transport to an event. So we really need anything that can add to the display itself. Keep in mind that it is a cabin and home with a cottage industry of sewing. Items added should reflect this.

Scenarios being considered for this years events are;

  • A party. Anyone having a birthday on an event weekend this year? Beware!

  • Soldiers Aid Society meeting. This could be as simple as rolling bandages to knitting socks.

  • Ransacking the cabin. This was done with great success at Naperville. We’d like to do it again as it only takes a few minutes and requires no preparation. Just a lot of things for the ladies to chase down the thieving skulkers with (brooms, frying pans, you get the idea).

  • Baking and Quilting bee’s are always a good show.

  • Assembling a box from home from a whole village or neighborhood.

So gals. Come on out. We’re having a ball!

The finished product from the outside.

At the end of the day, with chores done, it's time to catch up on the latest war developments and more important the ads. Never can tell what new elixir or tonic will come out that will cure all your (and your horses) ailments.

The kitchen: Cooking is a major part of the day in any home in the mid 1800s. Pies left on the sill to cool are always a target of local thieves. But beware, the angry housewife has a broom!

The bedchamber, complete with handmade quilts.

Taking a few minutes for a well deserved meal, Ken and Diane relax before continuing with the daily chores.

Rascal! Sometimes those smells get to the best of people.


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