Long history of log cabins that is still alive today

Posted Sep 14, 2020, Category: Cabin production

Modern log cabins for sale now have a long, proud history in Europe and North America with the arrival of the first settlers. The traditions and cultures surrounding the log cabin are so deep, in some cases, even the technology used to build them hasn’t changed for centuries. And while the styles, designs and building methods in large part have moved on and were automated or factory produced, the core concept of living in a wooden building surrounded by nature has remained the same.

In this blog post, we would like to go over the proud history of log cabins. Where did they originate from, how they evolved and then how and why they gained popularity throughout the New World.

The recorded story of the log cabin starts as early as the Bronze age (circa 3500 B.C.), in the Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Here, the prevalence of long and tall trees – namely, pine and spruce – made the logs an abundant resource. The people learned to interlock the corners by notching the logs, therefore eliminating the need for nails or other more sophisticated building materials. This way of building log cabins is so deeply engrained into the culture of the Nordic people that to this day, families and individuals opt to build at least forest retreats, saunas and full-time residences as log cabins.

Over time, the techniques of building log cabins improved or changed. By the time of the medieval era, log houses up north became transportable property. Because no “glue” or “settling” material was ever used to stick the logs together, the entire structure could have been disassembled – log by log – and moved to a different location. It was very common to change any log that was infected by rot, in order to not get the entire structure eaten by it. Overall, due to favourable conditions in Northern Europe and Asia, log cabins remained a popular dwelling option. Especially in Scandinavia, where vast forests were abundant, a family could erect a whole cabin within days, completely from scratch. More than that, the log cabin could be built in any season, since there were no chemical reactions, sensitive to the weather, involved in the process.

Due to the durability and ease of construction, the tradition of building a log cabin has been carried over the Atlantic ocean with the settlers of the New World. The east coast of what are now the United States and Canada were the best locations for this endeavor. Overgrown with forests that were fit for constructing log cabins, the Scandinavian and Finnish settlers did what they did best and established communities by building these log cabins. The English settlers that came later adopted this construction method and spread it all over the northern parts of the continent, where enough forests were available. Much later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the United States, the log cabin became a symbol of humble beginnings that every citizen came from.

Nowadays, in both Scandinavian countries and Finland, the log cabin industry is fully developed and operational. More often than not, Eurodita sources our own timber from there. The log cabins changed over time, from using simple logs, to introducing glue lamination like we use or other methods of construction. Log cabins also reach their owners pre-constructed, or in prefab cabin kits that are ready to be assembled on the spot. In the United States and Canada, log cabins also morphed into elaborate recreational estates, large hunting lodges and became associated with living sustainably. In Europe, log cabins stayed popular as bespoke summer houses or camping retreats.

It’s worth mentioning that over time, log cabins also gained reputation for being an eco-friendly way to live. The longevity and non-toxic resources used in its construction increased the popularity of contemporary log cabin homes all over the Western world and they’re not going away anywhere.

The log cabins that we produce at Eurodita may not be the original, logs-only approach that our ancestors used. However, we are still proud of the historical heritage that they have and we are happy to say that our bespoke log cabins made with glulam can carry on this tradition of living closer to nature and as a part of it.