This log house represents an important part of our heritage. It looks nothing like our current McMansions, townhouses, condominiums or apartment complexes. In reality, this house might have been considered a McMansion of it’s era. There is even a small fad of log homes designed to give the owner/residents the feel of our ancestral roots, much more luxuriously, however.
I found this log home in rural western Maryland while exploring the countryside with my friend from West Virginia. Her home is on the West Virginia side of the Potomac River across from Maryland. Old homes like this are still standing and many of them are still occupied throughout this entire region. Many of these structures have endured the ravages of time, weather and generations of inhabitants. Many (perhaps, most) of them do not have indoor plumbing and may have only minimal electrical service.
In their day, they provided shelter from the weather, a center for family life and were the hub of a working, productive farm where it wasn’t uncommon to find various crops and a variety of live stock. It was a hard life and everyone in the family participated in the farm work from the time they were old enough to do something productive. Often, depending on the size of the property, as the children grew into adulthood, a new cabin would be constructed on the farm for the new young family. And, of course, these farms were handed down from generation to generation. Small family grave yards were not uncommon on farms such as this.
As the old Virginia Slims slogan stated, “We’ve come a long way, baby.” Few of us would choose to live this way today and, I don’t hesitate to say, most of us wouldn’t do very well if we had to revert back to this lifestyle. But, my Canadian friends, Norm and Delva, have moved back to a family ranch outside Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with a house not unlike this one and with no electrical service or running water. They have taken on the task of modernizing the old family homestead little by little. They are experiencing life much as their ancestors, who settled that ranch, did generations ago. Another friend, Jim, a fellow recording engineer/producer who worked with me about 30 years ago, lives, with his family, on a small West Virginia farm (most likely the remnants of what was a much larger farm a few generations ago) in a renovated, modernized 200+ year old farm house.