Saturday, January 24, 2015

Log Cabin

Welcome to Simple Homes Week here at OPOD. We will be going back to a day when people had modest simple style homes. Today's picture was taken in 1895, and shows a rustic log cabin.

Sometimes I wonder if we have gone to far in the grandeur of our homes today. I wonder if the complexity of our homes does not generate more stress than what is really needed . . . stress from making the payments, to keeping them clean, and keeping them repaired. 

While certain modern conveniences make life easier, at what point is enough enough? I think perhaps we hit the optimum house styles in the 1950's and 1950's. I grew up in a small modest house in the 1960's. The house was warm in winter, cool in summer, and had indoor plumbing. I think that is about all you really need.


  1. I think you're correct. We really need to go back to building "houses". Today you can get a condo, a townhouse, or a McMansion, but just plain houses are hard to find.

    The house in which my parents lived when I was growing up was built in 1952, and did not have air conditioning. The summer of 1959 I saw an ad in the paper for a window a/c unit, and suggested we get on to cool the downstairs. "It's only $250." My mother about had a heart attack. Of course, to a kid, money is just numbers, but that particular number was probably more than half of what my dad brought home in a month!

  2. One of my g grandfathers apprenticed as a carpenter in Norway in the 1850s/1860s. When he emigrated to the US, he became a farmer, but built himself the best house he could afford, as an "ad" for the carpentry business he built up. No pictures survive, as the family moved from WI to MN. From there he, now widowed, and 4 of his 5 adult children and 2 spouses homesteaded, in 1907 in SD. They built 5 sod huts on their quarter sections. Oh, how my grandmother hated that soddie! She never knew when a spider or other nasty was going to land in her soup. However, even she admitted that a sod hut was well insulated, keeping them warm in winter, with a cook stove, and cool in summer. After the family left the homesteads, which they were fortunate enough to afford to purchase up front as investments, they returned to the same MN town. There my g grandfather built another, smaller home, which my mother remembered. It was the family home to which they returned on vacations, again showcasing her grandfather's skills in not just basic carpentry, but in woodworking. Still, it was no McMansion, as I've seen family members posed in front of it.

    On my dad's side, my g grandfather was a prominent merchant in a small town, with 8 children. They had a big house, but it wasn't fancy. When the last one moved out, they took the second story off, and turned one of the parlors into a bedroom for my g grandparents. I remember visiting him there, after she died, and it was a plain little house. It was the people who lived there who mattered. We kids loved his dahlia garden out back, and the park across the street where we fed the ducks in the pond.

    Because of their fathers' professions, my parents both moved around a great deal as kids, each going to 12 schools by the time they graduated from high school. It was more of an adventure for my dad, as his father was a civil engineer, and they lived in remote locations for years. For several summers, they lived in tent cabins--wooden floors and sides, with canvas tops. He loved it, but I've often wondered what his mother, who died before I was born, thought of that kind of life! My mother was one of 5 kids, and they often had to make do with homes that were too small. As the middle of 3 sisters, she never had a room to herself, something a modern child would think a terrible hardship. She usually shared with her younger sister, and they were life-long best friends, mostly because of that, I think. When they could afford it, the family had big houses, but they were often ramshackle. What mattered most to them was that they were together.

    My parents moved into a 1920s house in 1946. My dad wasn't a vet; worked in an important civilian position. I was a toddler and my mother was pregnant, and realtors were reluctant to show them houses. They found one little one, which a dozen years later was crammed with 3 kids. They bought a new house, a great luxury, but it still wasn't fancy. The greatest thing was having 2 bathrooms, and the main bathroom had 2 sinks and a mirror the full width so everybody could get ready for school/work at the same time. Quite an improvement! This was 1959, when cousins in MT still used an outhouse and had only a pump at their kitchen sink.