Down, But Not Out


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 the length of the cabin on the east side.  The group in the photo is unidentified, however I believe the two gentlemen on the left are Samuel and Ernest.IMG_1351

Built in two 15 foot sections joined by a partition in the middle, the east end has been removed in this photo. First the shingles are removed, then using crow bars and saws the laws are pried off and laid aside.


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 it was relocated from the homestead to ranch headquarters in the 1950’s, it was left standing on wooden blocks for a foundation, which ultimately failed, causing the floor to collapse.


One at a time, the logs are removed and stacked in the trailer for re-use.


Scraping off the old shingles was not a pleasant task, but had to be done to proceed with pulling the logs down.IMG_1372


Easy does it, as the west wall starts to come down.  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.  Stacking and storing the logs required hours of pulling nails and required an assembly line on sawhorses.  The logs were stored in a shed and covered with tarpaulins to keep them clean and dry.  Next step?  Stay tuned.