Author Topic: Moving old cabin  (Read 2839 times)

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PineyWoodsGal

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Moving old cabin
« on: February 17, 2006, 08:45:46 PM »
I'd appreciate candid advice on two related topics:   Has anyone ever done a take-it-apart and rebuild-it-elsewhere project with a very old log cabin?   And, how do you talk the owner of said cabin into parting with it?    The cabin in question was built in the mid-1800's by my g-g-grandfather.  It's made of huge rectangular logs, 12-14 inches thick, and is about 12 X 16 with a tin roof.   It's currently in fair shape.   It's on rural property, about ten miles from my own very rural property, but we have paved roads almost all the way there for easy transport.    The ax marks are still on the wood from my g-g-grandfather's work to create a home for his family.    When he died in a feud, my g-g-grandmother still managed to raise four kids in those woods, despite the bears and other varmints, and I have always admired her determination and self-reliance.

The problem is, the current owner (no kin) is very old, has an upscale house on the same property, is not maintaining the cabin at all, and spends most of her time in a nearby big city, but yet claims to have sentimental attachment to it because she actually grew up in the cabin.    Not to dispute her sentiment, but I would really like to save  this incredible piece of history before it rots into the ground.     Any ideas at all would be appreciated.    Yes, I've thought about offering cash, but like most of us with small house dreams, I've already spent most of my spare money on a nice piece of land (also of family heritage), and have been living in a rundown trailer for five years.    Should I just give up and get over it, or do any of you have an idea?    (Other than charm school.  Believe me, she's impervious.)  :-/     Thanks a bunch.

Amanda_931

  • Guest
Re: Moving old cabin
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2006, 09:28:53 AM »
No idea.

It's quite a big issue around here, though.

If you have a resident log cabin specialist (RCLS), (mind you, this didn't work here with the RLCS who tried it with his brother's landlady), you could try the "Look, it's rotting now because you haven't removed all the siding and chinking so that no moisture could be trapped in the logs, so you're going to lose it one way or another.  It would be best either to restore, or sell and let someone else deal with it."

We've also got a firebug who just loves to burn down old log structures.  Even a few that have been moved and/or restored, but are used as vacation houses, not permanent living.

And I'm no longer in touch with a woman who with her husband bought and combined a couple of log cabins on their new lot.  I believe it either did, or came close to, ending their marriage.  A fairly well-known danger of remodeling, not just log cabins.

PineyWoodsGal

  • Guest
Re: Moving old cabin
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2006, 10:29:33 AM »
Wow!   I thought I was the only one who noticed that divorces seem to follow the building of a "dream" log cabin!    I knew four couples who sacrificed for years to be able to build their cabins (most of mammoth proportions), then filed papers before the pine cones fell.    I didn't know this applied to remodeling, too. :o   I'm single, but hadn't planned on staying that way, haha.

I'm in north Florida, where very few structures survived various wars during the 1800's, so there are very few old cabins like this.   Most have already been saved  and moved by historical societies.    We don't have a "relocation specialist" down here.   I'd have to import one, and they probably wouldn't be within my budget unless I could convince them to camp on nearby riverfront property where the fishing is good   ;D.    The only cabin move I witnessed in this area was done by a major construction company for a nonprofit organization, and they moved the entire thing, circa 1820s,  intact.   Very very scary, as it was definitely one of the oldest surviving wood structures that I've come across.  

You mentioned the fire bug (a pox on the idiot!) in your area---"my" old cabin is in an isolated place, and I'd never thought of that, but we are also prone to wildfires and it's near a national forest.  
 
I'll try once again, maybe the "tough love" approach, since sugar definitely didn't work last time.   Possibly, my g-g-grandmother would think I was nuts to want to live in it, anyway, when I could build something new without the hassle.  (Which is why I found this site in the first place.)

Whatever I do, time's a-wastin', as those last four-hurricanes-in-a-row really beat up my poor little singlewide trailer.  Thanks for the nice letter.




Amanda_931

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Re: Moving old cabin
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2006, 10:51:36 AM »
The RLCS that I know is now pretty well settled with a new girlfriend in North Georgia somewhere.  But when I knew him he was kind of all over the place--Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, talked about Vermont wistfully a couple of times.

I wouldn't go looking for someone who calls himself that, I did make up the term.   ;)

pforden

  • Guest
Re: Moving old cabin
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2006, 11:38:41 AM »
I have a suggestion, based upon current negotiations I am in to try to buy a childhood home of mine to move to my land.
As ebay shows, sometimes we lose the things we love, but we can refind / recreate them. The way the family lived, shown in the details of the building, can be reproduced. Make very nice, and try to get permission to bring an expert over with you with the intent of copying the building on another site. As an aside, ask the owner if she would like your expert to send her some info about what needs to be done for preservation. Support her and smile, about the preservation.
It is possible that your attachment to the way your family lived and her ownership of and attachment to the actual building can be compatible. Perhaps if you make friends with her, you can find out if her own family / heirs would consider selling the building to your family / heirs in the future. In the meantime, recognize that all too often our own ancestors could not wait to move on to something better and did leave the old behind. Just my two cents, and I know this is all easier said than done. I hope that you can work out a compromise that will allow you to have the plans that your ancestor used along with the peace of mind of knowing you tried your best to save what they built.
Good luck!
Penny

Amanda_931

  • Guest
Re: Moving old cabin
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2006, 08:57:24 PM »
Ran into a guy today who bought a disassembled cabin from a man who has made a profession of buying, disassembling, and selling them sometimes hundreds of miles away.

So yes, someone who knows you have an attachment to the cabin might well be more interested in selling to you than to him.

PineyWoodsGal

  • Guest
Re: Moving old cabin
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2006, 09:53:48 PM »
Thanks, Penny, great idea.     She's not a warm and cuddly type at all but I'll see if she's cooperative about me asking to bring a local contractor/expert with me to get his advice about recreating one, and take it from there.    If not, I'll just ask to take some photos of it, then go to Plan B, which is recreating a small house similar to my grandparents' home.   It's circa 1925, been tied up in a quarrel for two decades, and now that the roof caved in and the rest has almost collapsed, the heirs are saying I can have the house (because they want the land vacant.)  It's almost fifty miles away, so I'd rather salvage some wood and doors and those beautiful old wavy glass windows, and start afresh.   A tent is starting to look like a good idea, eh?   ::)   Good luck with your own negotiations, I think you'll do just fine.

Leo

  • Guest
Re: Moving old cabin
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2006, 07:08:22 AM »
when Ive seen it done the entire thing was taken apart log by log each log got a stamped metal tag  and re assebled in reverse order. sounds like work but  considering the cost of a log cabin today?the ones ive seen rebuilt looked great

 

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