A Brief History of the Log Cabin

Log cabins have been around for as long as we can remember, but where did they come from? What’s the history of the log cabin? Keep reading as we outline the log cabin’s roots and history.

European History

European Cabin

No one knows for sure where exactly log cabins originated, but their history has roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. To the surprise of many, log cabins have been around since 3500 BC. They were built during the Bronze Age in Northern Europe. The earliest written description of construction with logs is by Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect, who described structures that were built by layering logs on top of one another. Interestingly enough, medieval log cabins were actually considered movable structures, as they were often disassembled, transported to a new location, and assembled all over again. Much of the log construction in Europe took place in Scandinavia, where there were lots of spruce and pine trees readily available for construction.

Traditional American Cabin

American History

In the United States, log cabins appeared a bit later than they did in Europe, around the 17th century. Historians believe that log cabins were built in the U.S. by Swedish settlers in the Delaware and Brandywine River valleys. A few decades later, German and Ukrainian immigrants also adopted the log building technique, and so did the Europeans in the 18th century. Unfortunately, there are very few log cabins from the 18th century that are still standing today, as they were typically used as temporary dwellings. Historians believe that the oldest standing log house in the United States is the C.A. Nothnagle Log House in New Jersey, which dates back to the mid-1600s. Cabins from this time period were built in a very similar way to how cabins are built today, by layering logs that interlock with notches on each end.

Because of their extensive history, log construction is one of the oldest building methods that is still used today!