Today, log houses are meant to evoke a different era. And while they may harken back to a simpler time, they are often quite modern, even grand in scale, comforts, and furnishings. But for the early settlers to York County, log homes were a way of life. Settlers needed shelter, and they needed it quick. The ample wooden areas of the region afforded them the opportunity to fairly rapidly construct a log home – sometimes only temporary, until a more permanent structure could be built.
But few log homes remain today. They were never meant to stand the test of time. For some early county residents, it was all they could afford. For others, the log homes were merely a short-term residence until their stone or brick home was completed.
The log homes that still stand, however, are things of beauty!
This past May, our Preservation Celebration took place at Historic Hellam Preserve, a nineteenth century farmstead that features a wonderfully preserved log house, dating from the 1700s.
Perhaps the best known log house in York County is the Barnett Bobb Log House, which is part of the Colonial Complex of the York County Heritage Trust. Built in 1811, the house originally stood several blocks south of its current location. It was relocated in 1968 and is notable for its size. Many log houses built during this period were a single story.
Only a few blocks away stands a comparatively tiny log house. At less than 700 square feet, the house at 144 East College Avenue is representative of a “worker’s house” from the nineteenth century. According to the National Register of Historic Places listing for the York Historic District, the house dates from the 1770s; however, other sources date it to around 1850.
In northern York County stands one of the oldest log homes in the region. Known as the Kleiser Log House, this one-room structure was built in the 1760s and was actually featured in Old House Journal.
These are some of our favorite log houses in York County. What are some of yours?
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This week’s blog was contributed by Historic York, Inc. board member Scott D. Butcher.