TwHP Lessons

Log Cabins in America:
The Finnish Experience

[Cover photo] Chicken house, Nickolai Wargelin Homestead, Long Valley, Idaho.
(Alice Koskella, 1980)


og cabins are as American as Fourth of July fireworks, baseball, and the bald eagle. Think of a pioneer and chances are you think of a log cabin: could Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett have lived in any other kind of house? Can you imagine the 1840 election--"Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too!"--without remembering the log-cabin-and-cider campaign? Would we be so impressed with Abe Lincoln if he had learned his letters under a crystal chandelier in a brick, Georgian-style house? Is it conceivable that Laura Ingalls Wilder's little house on the prairie was anything but a snug log structure? Assuredly, log cabins are enmeshed in American history, folklore, and myth.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Finnish speaking population, 1920

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The Log Cabin Tradition
 2. Long Valley Finnish Structures
 3. Log Cabin Politics

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Notching systems
 2. Detail of corner notching
 3. Exterior wall detail
 4. Teacher's cottage
 5. Goat barn
 6. Log barn
 7. Sauna

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Folk Housing
 2. Role Play
 3. Modern Log Housing

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This lesson is based on Long Valley Finnish Structures, one of the many thematic groups listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



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