Most of our guests ask us how this adventure into the cabin business all began. So bear with me while I tell you the story.
The Thompson family owned the forty-acre property for years. They farmed the land until, in 1955 and 1956, the parents and four of their five daughters planted approximately 22,000 white pine seedlings. (Their fifth daughter was born in January of 1956.)
The family's small cabin burned down in the early 1970s, leaving only a stone chimney down by the pond. (We removed the old chimney in 2007.) The father, Bud, passed away in the mid 1970s, and the mother and daughters kept the property until deciding to put it up for sale in 1985.
At that time Mike and I had two small daughters Jesse, age four, and Joni, age six. We were living in the basement of our home because Mike's work, construction in Columbus, was slow and we didn't have the money to finishthe main floor. It seemed totally out of the question to go into debt for a piece of property, but we went to look at it anyway. As we walked down that pine lane, Mike says I melted like butter, so off to the bank we went. (A big factor in our decision was that I'd been best friends with the youngest Thompson daughter, Twila, since way back in the late 1950s. Oops! I am telling my age!)
We really had no plans when we first bought the property. Mike, the girls, and I would take walks to the pond and enjoy nature and the quietness of the forest. I would remember the times I'd spent there with Twila, who is still one of my dearest friends. I remember when the trees were barely as tall as I was. I remember picnics and the beach area for swimming at the pond. Twila and I would ride down the lane it was barely a path then in the back of her Dad's 1945 Willys Jeep, of course laughing all the way.
In 1987 Mike came home announcing that he had found an old log cabin and planned to purchase it, move it tothe property, and restore it. You see, Mike grew up in a small town where every summer as a teenager he watched old cabins being destroyed to build new structures. He had always wanted to restore one, and now was his chance. What an adventure!
First the cabin had to be stripped of any outer siding that had been added through the years. Inside, drywall, paneling, and whatever else had been used to cover the logs had to be removed before we could begin disassembling the structure. We numbered and marked all the logs before taking them apart so the cabin could be reassembled. This took several weeks, working evenings and weekends after work.
Like a set of Lincoln logs the cabin was taken apart and loaded onto a truck and hauled to the property. We chose a spot far down the lane and off to the right, where there was a bare spot big enough that we wouldn't have to cut any trees. Then we rebuilt the cabin log by log, finally putting the roof on to protect it. Cleaning the logs was a dirty job, with lots of hot water, soap, bleach, and scrub brushes and lots of elbow grease. Though many suggested that we power wash the logs, we knew that could damage the wood and take away the natural beauty.
Our whole family loved our new project, and we continued to work evenings and weekends to restore it. The girls were six and eight years old now and were very much involved. We had to decide where to put the kitchen and bath, which the original cabin never had. Early settlers did all of their cooking in another building called the summer kitchen to keep the main house cooler. And the bath ! well you probably know about that already. So we had some decisions to make, and lots of dirty, hard work.
Can you believe we took three years to finish that first cabin? But we had lots of fun, and we cherish thememories of those days together.
When it was finally done, we wondered what to do with it. We lived so close. Would we ever stay there much?
At that time a wonderful couple, Emil and Margaret Parker, lived on Thompson Road by the Rock House State Park. Emil was retired from the military and had settled in the area to open a clock shop. He made the most beautiful grandmother and grandfather clocks, wooden toys, and other wooden items. The Parkers loved the visitors who came to Hocking Hills. Many of them stopped by the Parkers' little shop, if only to chat and ask questions about the area. So the Parkers suggested we try renting the cabin to tourists coming to stay in the Hocking Hills.
So here we are, nineteen years later, with two more log cabins and the cedar cottage. You might ask if we will add more. Finding old cabins has become more difficult, but Mike and I would love to restore another, if our old bodies can withstand the work.
History on the structures is sometimes difficult to trace. All three of ours were originally from Hocking County, approximately ten miles from our property. As I studied the history of log cabins, I found out that many were moved numerous times over the years as settlers moved about. It is said that if a log cabin is in its original location from the first settlers, there will be a cedar tree planted in the front yard to remind them of home in England. None that we moved had that tree, so they had probably been moved more than once already.
Other findings indicated that two of our cabins (the ones to the right of the lane) were built around the 1820s. The notching of the outside corners on the cabin on the left indicates a construction date prior to 1820.
We purchased the cedar cottage in 1996 and discovered that it, too, had some history. It first served as a small one-room schoolhouse in the early 1900s, then became a full-time residence. So again we took on the project to relocate and restore the structure and add it to our business.
The big barn/house to the left of the cabin lane and beside the cedar cottage is yet another project. When it came up for sale, we again went to the bank, hoping to protect the cabin property from close neighbors and noise. We had no idea what it would become, but it sure made a good storage unit for everything we needed to keep.
In the winter of 2007 we finished a one-bedroom apartment in the barn/house, and a young Marine, Rian Call, home from Iraq lives there now while attending college at Hocking Tech in Nelsonville.
After years of being friends our daughter Jesse and Rian are now engaged, they live in the barn house for now, Rian has finished school and they will be moving west soon to pursue their dreams of western life.
Frontier Log Cabins is a small family owned (well, not yet we seem to have to take our little books to the bank each month, just like everybody else) and operated business. We have all been involved with every part of running it construction, maintenance, laundry, cleaning, taking calls and reservations, shopping for supplies, and all the other details.
But the best part is you our guests. We love meeting you and getting to know all of you. We enjoy hearing about where you live, your children, your special pets, and your different jobs. We enjoy seeing you enjoying your time away from work and your hectic schedules, relaxing with someone special. That is what we like most about this business.