Cobblestone Farm Association :: 1835 Log Cabin
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Log Cabin errors & terrors

Moved and disattributed, disassembled and reassembled…wrong “Getting old is not for sissies,” Sophie Tucker used to say. Apparently the same goes for old buildings––especially if you move them around a lot and take them apart in the process.

Cobblestone’s Log Cabin is originally from Willis, Michigan, south of Ypsilanti. Willis was established when the railroad came through, so there was no such hamlet when the cabin was built at 8691 McKean Road, in the SW quarter section, Augusta Township, Washtenaw County. The original site was a half mile from what is called Willis today.

At the time Cobblestone Farm acquired the cabin, the history given identified William Harris as the original owner. The history explained that Mr. Harris and his family were robbed upon reaching Detroit and therefore did not have the cash necessary to build a better home when they arrived in Willis. The Association was later informed that this family lived on property adjacent to the original site of the cabin, but were actually NOT the original owners.

According to information received in 1998, a deed for the original 160 acres was signed on February 26, 1835 by Lucy Look. Mrs. Look was a widow who settled here with her twelve-year-old son, Sanford. Sanford was born in New York, which is probably where they immigrated form, although it is not clear where in the state they were living. It is also not known whether her husband died before they left the East, or somewhere on the way to Michigan.

The Cabin was given to the City of Ann Arbor and moved here in 1981. Each log was numbered with a blue marking pencil (some marks are still visible) and the building was disassembled, put on a flatbed truck, and reassembled on site. A troop of Boy Scouts helped in the reassembly, and with the cement installation. The only problem encountered was the incorrect placement of the loft floor. Its position was reversed, so that the opening for the stove ended up over the bed, instead of in the stove corner. By the time this mistake was realized, it was too late to undo, so they simply placed a new floor over the original one upstairs. This is why you see the round opening above the bed. It appears that someone changed the stovepipe at some point, and had to cut a new hole for a different sized pipe, so there are two holes.

In the early 1980s, it was not known that cement traps water and does not allow the wood to breathe properly. This was speeding the decay of the logs so, in 2003, a contractor was hired to replace the worst logs and re-do the chinking and daubing. A this time the outside daubing was replaced with a modern polymer which behaves the way original daubing would, but does not require the maintenance of original daubing. The chinking was replaced with cut foam pieces for insulation. Due to lack of funds, there was no restorative work done on the interior daubing at that time. Much of the cement treatment from the ‘80s remains on the interior walls.

 

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