August 6, 2009 at 8:19 a.m.
The Historical Society hired Vince Bennett who has moved more than seventy-five log buildings and reassembled them. The crew Vince has to help him is a community work crew through the Minnesota Department of Corrections. They have been in a partnership for more than ten years.
Vince and his crew came one Saturday morning and removed the roof and ceiling that could not be salvaged. I asked Vince about the siding and he stated it was put on sometime after the log house was built. Apparently living in a log house was a sign of being poor, so adding siding showed prosperity. The building was all square logs with pegs and no nails so Vince numbered all the logs as they had been originally placed.
The next Saturday morning Vince and his crew placed the building on flat-bed trailers and headed for the Threshing Grounds. We received a call later in the afternoon that the log building was already reassembled. However the work was far from over.
Vince and his crew did a wonderful job of getting it ready for the Threshing Show on August seventh through the ninth. They put it on a foundation since it was on cement blocks at the farm. A new ceiling replaced the old one and they lowered the peak on the roof since the original upstairs was probably a bedroom area. A new floor was needed because the original was dirt and a divider wall was built in the exact place the original had been. New windows, doors, a porch with an overhang, and a ramp make it ready to visit us at the Threshing Show.
It's hard to get an authentic history of the log house. I know it was used as a summer kitchen and stood next to our house that was built in nineteen three. Summer kitchens were popular at the turn of the century as they were used for cooking and washing clothes in the summer. Since woodstoves were used it kept the excess heat away from the living area. During the winter the kitchens were used for storing meat and produce that could be frozen.
I spoke with John Jackson who knows the history of the Franconia area. John and Vince both think the log house was built around eighteen eighty. It was moved away from the house around nineteen fifty to an area near the rest of the outdoor buildings.
The real mystery is whether the log house was built on our farm before the present house was built or if it was moved in. John Jackson said that in nineteen hundred there were more than one thousand people and one hundred houses in Franconia. The railroad changed all of that and not only did the people move but many of the houses moved to Shafer, Center City, and elsewhere. Was one of those moved our log house? All I know is it's at the Almelund Threshing Grounds and the Chisago County Master Gardeners are thrilled to call it our new home.
Come visit us and bring along your Yard and Garden questions to the Almelund Threshing Show Aug. 7-9, 2009. Also remember our weekly Plant Clinics at the County Extension Office on Monday's 4-6 p.m. Call 651-213-8904 for more information.