My first log cabin restoration experience

This is the first cabin I worked on, when I was in college, around the year 2000 or so, which is actually what brought me to the small town of Union, West Virginia in the first place.

I spent an entire summer with my three brothers, and some friends doing all the demo work and plaster removal, etc., off of this old house. You couldn’t tell before we started, but there were logs hidden inside the old plaster walls.

This is how the house originally appeared. This was referred to as the Nellie Thomas house, because that’s the elderly who lived in it for years, but I’m not sure who all lived in it prior to that. The exterior is covered in board and batten siding, just like Willowbrook, and is circa 1854, when an addition was added to a preexisting log cabin. We don’t know how old the log cabin is, or who lived there. It has a cut limestone foundation and chimney, and appears to be pretty early “V notch” log joint construction. It faces, and sits in line with other houses on the street, which places it post 1800, since the town of Union was laid out at that time.

Inside was all plaster walls. Everywhere. The only indications it was a log house was the thickness of the walls, and also if you climbed into the closet under the stairs, you could see some logs.

Fun, fun.

This is where I discovered a hidden staircase behind a closed-off wall.

Walking up the staircase to nowhere….

Before and after shots. The staircase was re-opened, and made to function.

The stripes on the logs are where the little slats of wood were nailed to the logs, to serve as the base for the 1850s plaster.

Some of the finds out of the walls. Those two brothers are now 29 and 33. The one sitting on my truck is Trey, the artist from New Orleans. The little girls to the right, we went to her wedding like 5 or 6 years ago.

A close up of the finds

Me, right, and my brother Austin, left. Man do I remember that UCF football conditioning uniform shirt…..

After all the demo was done, which took quite a while, the professionals took over and did a great job on the house, which we still enjoy today.

Some before and after pics:

Here’s how it appears now.

The inside came out great.

The hidden staircase was built right next to what was originally the exterior chimney of the log cabin, enclosed in 1854 with a post and beam addition, and the entire structure covered in board and batten, which was an expensive siding in 1854.

Fast forward 20 years. I appear to be having more fun now than I did back then:

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