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Historical Survey of Log Structures in Southern Appalachia: Home

An essay with 84 images that illustrate how environment can contribute to the formation of culture


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 Historical Survey of Log Structures in Southern Appalachia

By the Berea College Appalachian Museum and Special Collections and Archives

This resource was originally in the form of a synchronized slide-tape program created in 1976 by the Berea College Appalachian Museum. In the early 2000s, Berea’s Department of Special Collections and Archives combined the script and images in a single-page illustrated essay for inclusion in the Digital Library of Appalachia. The present revised version benefits from more current technology that optimizes both preservation and ease of access for the original content.

The first settlers in the Appalachian Mountain Regions emigrated from previously settled areas in the United States. Germans and Scotch-Irish from Pennsylvania, English from the Eastern sections of Virginia and the Carolinas, and Scandinavians from the Delaware Valley--all traveled further West and South to the rugged, isolated mountains of Appalachia. As they settled the area, these people retained elements of their distinct European heritage and altered their traditions to suit their environment (1). These traditions combined with each other in the mountains to produce the distinct culture of Appalachia.

Early Appalachian architecture is one form of folk art which exhibits the unique combination of German, Scotch-Irish, English, and Scandinavian cultures in the Southern Highlands. We begin by examining the elements common to all log structures. We can then appreciate the variety of ways in which these elements were combined to construct the house, the barn, and the outbuildings of the mountain homestead (2). Generalizations can be made, but there are few rules that apply to their construction and design. These structures are unique, as were the individuals who built them.










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