Down, But Not Out

Homestead

Homestead at Nine Mile – home in foreground was Ernest and Clara Ullery’s built in 1921

This two-room cabin, circa 1921, was built of pine logs from the Mayoworth sawmill west of Kaycee, Wyoming.  The old-growth logs were planed so that cedar shingles could be nailed on the outside walls rather than leaving them rounded, which was an unusual design that I have always attributed to my great grandfather Samuel.  He retired from a career as a builder in the Midwest and followed his son Ernest’s footsteps to a homestead in Wyoming. The logs were notched, nailed together with large spikes and chinked like most of the historic log structures of that era, but then the cedar shingles covered the exterior.Daddy

A screened porch extended along the east side of the cabin where family members and neighbors are gathered in this photo, apparently after a successful bird hunt. I have not identified the individuals who make up this party, but I believe the two gentlemen on the left are Samuel and Ernest.

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These photos, taken a few years ago, illustrate the fate that had befallen the old cabin.  A microburst windstorm tore the roof and porch off, blowing boards across the road and up the hillside.  My hopes of someday restoring the cabin were dashed.  When  was relocated from the homestead in the 1950’s, it was left standing on wooden blocks for a foundation, which ultimately failed, causing the floor to collapse.IMG_1359

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The final solution was to tear it down, salvage the logs that were still in good enough condition to be re-purposed and clean up the site. Our friend Rick, a preservation architect, volunteered to assist Michael and I with a hazardous, difficult job. As the chain was hooked on to the west wall, we all held our breath while it came tumbling down. Stacking and storing the logs required hours of pulling nails and required an assembly line on sawhorses. Then the logs were stored in a shed and covered with a tarpaulin to keep them dry. Next step? Stay tuned.

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