The Reconstruction of our Log Cabins
Dan has always had a love for log cabins. Ever since 3rd grade at an elementary school in Waynesville when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied that he wanted to be a dentist and live in a log cabin.
He pursued his dreams. His days of building cabins from Lincoln Logs as a child continued into his adult life with restoring century old log cabins. In 1972 Dan became a dentist in his hometown of Waynesville...and began the search for a log cabin to put on the family land he and his wife Betsy purchased in 1972. The property was originally owned by Dan's grandfather David J. Boyd who was a pioneer settler of the Jonathan Creek area of Haywood County. The home his grandfather built in the early 1900s where Dan's father was the eldest of 9 children still sits on a knoll as you enter the enclave. This property has always had great sentimental value to Dan.
Dan has always enjoyed travelling on the back country roads and looking for old log cabin structures. The first cabin he purchased in 1973 was from a lead given to him by a farmer in Luck, NC at Plemmons Country Store on Hwy 209, near Spring Creek and Hot Springs. The farmer led him to a cove a mile off the main road with an abandoned cabin which was built from Virgin Poplar logs that were cut and hewn by hand in the early 1800's. The 20' x 20' structure had a rock fireplace for heat and cooking, 3 windows, 1 door and a loft. No water, No electricity and No Bathroom. The cabin was purchased in exchange for a set of dentures! The buyer and seller were both happy! The cabin was needed to be unassembled so it could be moved to the property at Boyd Mountain in Haywood County. In moving an old cabin, first the roof is removed, rafters dismantled, the logs numbered with canning jar lids, the chimney taken down, and the logs are placed on a flat bed tractor trailer for transporting.
Each side of the cabin has a number attached to the log...1 A front, 1 B right side, 1 C back, 1 D left side, then the next round of logs is 2 A, 2 B, 2 C, 2 D etc. etc. The cabin is put up again and examined closely for "doddy", rotten areas of the logs and the corners that may need to be reworked.
Since 1973 Dan has found dozens or more log buildings and preserving the Appalachian culture of log cabins has become a lifetime love and hobby. On their property their own home was built from 3 log cabins, and other buildings include a chicken house, corn crib and seven restored cabins for guests on vacation to rent. The cabins have been found in the Meadow Fork community and the Shelton Laurel community of Madison County NC ,Hurricane Creek, NC., Whittier NC, Arden NC, Cosby, Tn, Hartford Tn, Clinch River area of Hancock County, Tn,and Pulaski, Va. Dan is still "collecting" them and has one stacked up and ready to set up.
Once the logs have been put up on a new foundation of rock they need to be chinked in between the logs. A metal screen similar to chicken wire is nailed to the exterior of the log to span each gap between logs and then layers of insulation and cement is applied from inside and outside. In recent years a commercial product called Perma-Chink has become available for the purpose of chinking. The restored cabins now have electricity and central heat and air conditioning, and plumbing which can sometimes be tricky to hide and conceal. The old authentic cabins did not have these modern features previously. All of our restored cabins now have modern conveniences including kitchens with dishwashers, washer/dryer units, Internet access, cable TV....all a far cry from the modest one room 1 1/2 story cabin that housed a family in 400 sq. ft with a sleeping loft. The cabins we have restored have had new construction added to the original part. This allows space for bedrooms and bathrooms. The size of log cabin structures vary but typically 20' x 20' is a popular size. The logs are hewn from Oak, Poplar, Pine and Chestnut trees. When the pioneers built these cabins 150 - 200 years ago, they used man power to hoist the logs and beams in place with the neighbors helping each other. In our modern days of restoring these log cabins, we had to use mechanical power like booms and cranes to lift the logs into place.
There is such a charming atmosphere inside and outside a hand hewn log cabin with the years of wear and patina and axe marks on the old wood. And at Boyd Mountain the placement of each cabin in a setting that provides privacy and appears that the cabin is well suited for that location is very important in where the cabin is situated. We want the cabin to look at though it has been there forever. And many guests think the cabins on our property have been here many many years...possibly since the first settlers built them.