Wednesday, February 5, 2020

This Revolutionary War Era Log Home Has Been Hiding In Plain Sight in Washingtonville

In Washingtonville this week, a  two story log cabin thought to be more than 200 years old was discovered hiding inside the old bar and apartments at 1014 Water Street.

Could this be the old fort?  J. H. Battle, in his 1887 History of Columbia and Montour Counties wrote,   "There is some dispute now as to where the old fort or bloc-house stood.  Some think it stood in the valley just across the creek from the borough, while others contend it stood just back of front street, between Church and Water Streets."

The old bar, once known as KCs Corner, also contained apartments.  Most recently it was used for storage. The building  stood on the corner of Front and Water streets, but had been condemned and was being torn down by Fares Farhat General Construction  this month.  No one knew a 200 year old log cabin hid inside. 


According to the towns mayor, Tyler Dombroski, the borough knew there were some beams in the back of the old bar room that they wanted to salvage and use for something in the town park, but it wasn't until the contractor started peeling back the additions that the two story cabin was revealed.

The wide beams were cut by ax, and appear to be hickory.  The building is thought to be more than 200 years old, although no date, nor clear history,  has been established at this time


For now, the demolition has temporarily ceased while the borough decides what to do next.


The borough does not own the property, so they cannot choose to simply leave the building stand where it is.Originally the plan was  to knock the structure down,  grade the area and plant it in grass, and then place a lien on the property to recoup the grant money the borough  is spending on the demolition.  


Now the borough is  looking into options to have the cabin torn down carefully, with each board numbered, and rebuilt elsewhere in the borough.  Amish contractor John Lapp will present an option this week, but money will be an issue.The borough plans to ask the Montour commissioners to use the Community Development block grant funds. $72,000 was originally allotted for the demolition, but the demolition bid came in at less than half that cost.  Still, even that may not cover the cost to move the structure properly, and there is  not yet a plan for where he building would be moved.

A similar, but smaller, structure, built about 1790, was moved and saved in Northumberland Pa - https://susquehannavalley.blogspot.com/2020/02/theres-log-cabin-in-northumberland-that.html

The History Of Columbia And Montour Counties, written in 1887 by J.H. Battle, tells us that Washingtonville  is one of the oldest townships and settlements in the county.   The earliest settler in the territory was Mr Brittain.  Other early settlers included Jacob Shultz, in about 1791, and Matthew Calvin, who built the old wood frame mill.  Joseph Hutchinson also settled near Washingtonville "at an early day."

Battle also tells us that " Brady's Fort   (generally printed in the State histories as "Boyle's Fort") was erected toward   the latter part of the Revolutionary war. It was named after the two brothers   Col. Sam. and Hugh Brady, who were prominent soldiers in the war for  independence. "  

Battle further states, "There is some dispute now as to where the old fort or bloc-house stood.  Some think it stood in the valley just across the creek from the borough, while others contend it stood just back of front street, between Church and Water Streets."

An 1860 Map Of Washingtonville 
Identifying the building as McCoy & Son Store


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Progress, as of March 31, 2020

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See A large album of photos of the Log Home In Washingtonville here:

Read more about the fort at Bosley's Mill here:
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8 comments:

  1. Would I be correct that a cabin was a one-story structure and that a two-story structure would be a log HOUSE?

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  2. Need to contact Barn Builders in W. Virginia.

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    1. Yes- Mark Bowe and crew from Barnyard Builders would love this.

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  3. Get ahold of Barnwood Builders Show. Maybe they would move it or whatever is decided for a show!!
    https://www.google.com/search?kgmid=/g/11f3m9nr4p&hl=en-US&kgs=4d955adfffec756a&q=Barnwood+Builders&shndl=0&source=sh/x/kp/osrp&entrypoint=sh/x/kp/osrp

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  4. The architectural distinction is thus: a structure constructed with hewn logs,that is with flat sides is a "log house", a structure built of full round logs is a "log cabin".

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    1. It appears to be a matter of opinion. For instance, when I say "chicken pot pie" - I mean a dish in a pan with a crust. Beef pot pie is more of a soup with noodles. That's simply how it is at my house. The log debate - two story, shape, is the same. The explanation I reaceived was - "Traditionally, log cabins were made with round logs, not the square or ‘hewn’ variety. This is mainly because hewing the logs takes extra work and log cabins were often built quickly for shelter in the frontier. Pioneer builders could pick the best logs, which were selected from older trees with minimal limbs and fairly straight lines. These logs fit well together and didn’t need to be hewn. The logs would then be carefully notched and dovetailed to minimize the gaps – and also the amount of time spent chinking (insulating) with sticks or rocks or daubing with mud. The round log cabin is also known as the Traditional Timber.
      Hewn log cabins or square log cabins were built once a primary residence was already in place and were valued for their superior insulation. Hewn log cabins also became a necessity when the ideal round logs had been used up by the first settlers."

      There are MANY opinions on the definitions, but no clear rule.

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  5. Contact barnwood builders ... DIY TV ...we catered to them in TN, they repurposed old logs

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