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Inside walls were often chinked with clay or cloth. Most floors were simply beaten earth, although some cabins had floors of puncheons--logs split lengthwise and laid close together with flat sides up. A family often built a sleeping loft if roof were high enough. The loft could be reached by pegs pounded into walls or by a ladder built from tree limbs. The loft also was used to store foodstuffs.
Log cabins were never meant to be permanent, but many log houses were. The difference between two was primarily one of size and attention to detail. Most pioneers preferred "flat" walls to rounded log walls, and so most used hewn logs for building. These not only made houses look (from a distance) more "real," but also withstood elements much better, since bark and decay-prone outside wood were removed from logs. When milled lumber became available either from a local sawmill or by railroad transport, most people chose it for their homes.
It seemed that as frontier disappeared, so would log cabin. However, at about same time Finnish homesteaders were, of necessity, building their first homes of logs, Easterners were rediscovering log structure. William A. Durant, land developer and president of Adirondack Railroad, pushed idea of Great Camps in Adirondacks. These camps were enclaves where very wealthy could escape summer heat of cities and retreat to "simple life" of log-cabin living in country. Such "cabins" were hardly simple. Designed by architects, they were huge structures with many rooms and fireplaces and porches. But their log exteriors recalled "good old days". National park structures also fueled revival of log cabin living. Many park lodges were made of logs so they would fit their surroundings. The Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park is a prime example. Built in 1904, inn has an eight-story lobby some 185 feet high. There are 140 guest rooms and three sets of balconies.
Another factor that kept tradition of log building alive was Great Depression of 1930s. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked with National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service to build thousands of log structures throughout national forests and parks. Had it not been for these log cabin might have disappeared, but because people saw log structures and liked what they saw, many began to build modern log cabins and log houses. These homes seemed to represent all that a family could want: a sturdy shelter from elements and a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle. The log cabin remains a popular building style.
S. Nicole Thomas is a worldwide traveler among other things. Lived in Finland for over three years and has started to write about finnish saunas and the great land of finland. Visit http://www.homesaunatips.com for more information!