The cabin was built as early as 1799 and still stands, though the roof needs much work. It was built in Clackamus County, perhaps 10 years before the Lewis & Clark expedition arrived in Oregon. Gregg Olson of Historic Building repair is heading up the restoration project. The cabin is inside a protective building while it’s being restored.
The current thinking is that the large, inventive log building could have been handmade by Russian farmers and craftsmen sent by Catherine the Great to settle in the Willamette Valley. Growing wheat and gathering beaver and elk pelts here could have aided the tsarina’s struggling Alaskan fur trade.
That the log cabin was made by foreigners is clear. It’s unlike pioneer construction seen in Oregon until now.
The 25-foot-long Douglas fir logs, stacked 17 high, originally fit together so tightly there was no need to add chinking to fill in gaps.
Fine woodworking, similar to making a cabinet rather than a settlers’ cabin, joined the floor, walls and roof so well that no nails were needed until a century later. In 1892, the whole building was taken apart, moved on a wagon from its original site and reconstructed by craftsmen perhaps with lesser skills than the original builders. ~ The Oregonian – Could this be Oregon’s first house, if so, who built it? Unraveling a mystery (photos)
At first glance it doesn’t look like much. But the interior is very well preserved. Especially for a 216 year old house. This just goes to show the craftsmanship that went into building such a fine cabin.
Nowadays, new construction might last a few decades before major repairs are needed. And most probably wouldn’t last more than 100 years, much less over 200.
I hear people all the time talking about log homes and cabins and saying they won’t last, or they’re “termite magnets” or any the wood will attract any other number or type of pest or critter.
This is proof of the durability of fine craftsmanship in log cabin building. And I for one would be proud to own such a beautiful work of art.