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Historical Survey of Log Structures in Southern Appalachia: Page 5

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

Page 1  (Images 1-2)

Page 2  (Images 3-11)

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Page 4  (Images 22-30)

Page 5  (Images 31-43)

Page 6  (Images 44-55)

Page 7 (Images 56-65)

Page 8 (Images 66-74)

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Most log buildings in Appalachia have gables of clapboard (31), or board and battan construction (32). However the earliest buildings and smaller outbuildings incorporated the Scandinavian technique of logged gables (33). Early roofs were crudely made, using anything that was available for covering, such as turf, tree limbs, and boards (34). As buildings were improved the roofs were lightly framed and covered with "shakes." Shakes are long, rough shingles split out of a section of log (35). The system of shingle roofing is an English tradition which found wide acceptance with the Appalachian settler. This form of protective covering, vertical or horizontal, soon covered the walls of many log buildings, especially of the side toward the prevailing wind (36).

The first homes of Appalachian settlers were temporary, one-room structures used until a better home could be built (37). These are sometimes known as pole shacks, descriptive of their crude appearance and the size of their wall logs. The primary feature that distinguished log cabins from pole shacks was the construction itself. Log cabins had larger logs, hewn on 2 or 4 sides. The spaces between the logs were narrow and chinked, while the corners were neatly notched (38). From the basic design, single-pen cabin additions could he attached in various ways, usually creating a double-pen house. There are two types of double-pen homes found commonly in the Appalachian Mountains. A "Dog-Trot" house consists of two single-pen cabins joined by a common roof (39), with a covered breezeway, or "dog trot" between them (40). Each single pen has its own chimney, and the dog-trot could be enclosed to form a third room. This house type emerged from the South Tennessee Valley. If the addition on the second pen was made on the chimney end, a "Saddle Bag" house was created (41). This house form, commonly found north of Tennessee, has two front doors and a central chimney which serves both sides (42). Log rooms could also be added to the main house in the popular "Ell" form (43).

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