Revolutionary Era Log House Found Hidden in US Building
The vast majority of historic structures and monuments are carefully preserved and cherished. But sometimes there are structures that are overlooked and are hiding in plain sight. This is the case with an 18th-century log house that was found in America. This historic building was about to be demolished when its true nature was established, to the astonishment of the local community and experts.
The remarkable find was made in Washingtonville, Philadelphia. This small town was established in 1731. Local officials had commissioned a project to redevelop some of the run-down areas of the town and they were ‘cracking down on blighted properties’ reports WTOC. A bar with some apartments on the corner of Water and Front Streets was selected as among the first to be demolished. This building had been condemned three years ago and it was empty. Demolition contractors were hired to pull the old bar down, which was only several decades old.
Old bar, once known as KC’s, before demolition started. (Valley Girl Views)
As the contractors were working on the bar, pulling its old façade down, they made an amazing discovery. They found the walls of a log house after they began to remove external paneling. Washingtonville Council President Frank Dombrosk commented, ‘After our demolition contractor started pulling the outsides of the building off, we discovered there was a log cabin in there’ reports Valley Girl Views. The demolition experts had expected to salvage some old wooden beams but did not expect to find a log house, in a relatively good state of preservation.
The structure is built of horizontal logs that were interlocked, at their ends. They were very common on the American frontier, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. The building has wide beams and ‘appear to be made of hickory wood and cut with an ax’ according to Valley Girl Views. Moreover, a map from the 1860s suggests that the log cabin was originally in an L-shape.
The structure looks to be made of hickory wood, cut with an ax. (Valley Girl Views)
It is believed that the log cabin dates from the 18th century when Washingtonville, was on the frontier. Valley Girl Views reports that it is an ‘a two-story log cabin thought to be more than 200 years old’. Therefore, it may date back to the Revolutionary era. The discovery may resolve a long-standing dispute over the location of a fort or blockhouse, which was made of logs in the locality. According to Valley Girl Views, ‘it stood just back of the front street, between Church and Water Streets’. Given the location of the log cabin, it seems very likely that it may be a part of the long-lost fort or blockhouse.
Mayor Tyler Dombroski, the son of Council President Frank said that, ‘It came completely out of the left-field with nobody involved with the project seeing it’ according to Newsweek. Despite its age, the structure is believed to be highly salvageable. Now the question is what to do with the log cabin, which has already become popular with local people and visitors.
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The building could have originally been in an ‘L’ shape. (Valley Girl Views)
Saving the log cabin
A council meeting was held to determine what to do with the remarkable find which has made the local community much more aware of their heritage. The local representative hopes that the structure stays in the borough. They believe that the best approach is for it to be taken down piece by piece and then catalogued.
The parts of the 200-year-old cabin, after they have been studied can then be rebuilt in another part of Washingtonville. This is the will of the local community who want this part of their history to be preserved for future generations. Some local people have offered to buy the log cabin and to rebuild it on their own land. However, the council wants it and it could become a tourist attraction, which could boost the local economy. For the moment the cabin will stay where it is,
Top image: Revolutionary era log house revealed by demolishers. Source: Valley Girl Views
By Ed Whelan