Log cabins are an iconic structure of US history, and these fascinating architectural achievements have been around since long before the US existed. So just who invented these dwellings, and how have they changed over the years. Read on to find the answer to these questions and learn more information on these remarkable buildings.
The true origin of the log cabin is not clear, though it is thought to have originated in northern Europe around the time of the Bronze age, which was around 3,500 BC. The Europeans brought the technique to the Americas when they began populating the continent. Europeans from Scandinavia, Russia, and Germany were already accustomed to building and living in log cabins as well as for using them for barns and other storage buildings. In these areas, wood was abundant and soft. Which made it cheap and easy to work with. For these reasons, the peoples on these areas became quite skilled at building log cabins.
Log cabins can also be built pretty quickly as well. Two or three skilled men could build one in a few days to a week with a single room and a chimney. Most simple designs had one door and no windows and a single room. If the cabin had windows, they would be covered with animal skin or paper greased with animal fat, which served the dual purposes of making it water proof and translucent. The space between the logs was filled with clay or fabric on the inside, and earth or pitch on the outside. The floors of these cabins was usually just dirt. Some taller versions had a loft for sleeping or storing food and other goods.
As log cabins began to give way to log houses and more modern housing designs, the log cabin began to be adapted as a building for vacation homes for wealth Easterners in the United States. The Great Depression also brought about a resurgence of the log cabin design out of necessity due to the economic downturn. The Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) employed out of work citizens and had them build many National Park buildings using the log cabin building method due to the abundance of timber, ease of construction, and the low cost of materials.
So in summary, log cabins have been around for over sixteen thousand year, were brought to the United States by Northern European immigrants, and became the building of choice for homes and other structures due to how quickly they could be built and the availability of trees and other materials. The building style would have been lost if it had not been adopted by the wealthy for vacation houses and for National Park buildings during the Great Depression.
These truly are fascinating buildings that helped shelter the first peoples to come to this country. It protected them from the elements while they struggled to gain a foothold on the new land. And because of all their hard work, we can relax and en joy cabins and golf on our vacations.