Scandinavian settlers of the Delaware region are thought to have built the first log cabins in America in the mid-1600s, and their structures were soon followed by cabins constructed by Germanic colonists in what is today Pennsylvania. As the country was colonized and the pioneers traveled west, the log cabin moved and evolved as well.
Though relatively easy to build from available resources, and quaint and charming to be sure, traditional log homes were not without their drawbacks. They were leaky, drafty, and vulnerable to pests; even modern log homes require costly routine maintenance to protect against the elements. But what if those settlers had access to TruLog™, a maintenance-free steel siding system that has the rugged, rustic appearance of authentic logs but with improved energy efficiency, a lighter weight, and increased durability?
The Oldest Log Cabin in America
The oldest surviving log house in the country is thought to be the Nothnagle Cabin in New Jersey. The cabin is believed to have been built between 1638 and 1643 by Finnish settlers.
Despite its age, only one of the cabin’s original oak logs has been replaced. And the home features some advanced design attributes, including removable slats that provide ventilation, a sharply angled roof for snow and rain runoff, and a brick fireplace with an interior chimney that retains warmth inside the cabin.
The Nothnagle Cabin, which earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, has survived in part due to its refined construction but largely due to the preservation efforts of its owners. Today, just as it did when it was built in the 17th century, the cabin requires labor- and time-intensive care to guard it from inclement weather and uphold its structural integrity.
Log Cabins and Westward Expansion
According to a National Park Service report on America’s log cabins, many early log cabins were not intended to be permanent homes, but temporary structures to shelter hunters, miners and others who were frequently on the move. As colonists settled with families, however, larger and stronger cabins were constructed that were intended to last for generations.
With the pioneer movement West, those who began homesteading, ranching and converting land for agricultural purposes adapted log structures for permanent homes, churches, barns and other uses. Although the designs and construction techniques for log cabins were refined, the buildings themselves came with the same limitations: they were vulnerable to insects, rain, snow and fire; the logs and chinking contracted and expanded with seasonal changes in temperature; and they required extensive upkeep, which took time away from family and other work.
Time Travel with TruLog™
If American settlers had the multi-patented TruLog steel siding system, they would have enjoyed lighter-weight exteriors with greater strength and protection.
With TruLog, these cabins and homes would have retained desirable temperatures, helping the settlers stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. TruLog’s contoured, log-like siding panels are backed by form-fitting foam that provides improved insulation and greater energy efficiency than traditional wood exteriors.
TruLog also offers superior defense against the elements and fire. Log homes are susceptible to fires, and they need vigilant care to shield inhabitants from wind, rain, snow and hail. TruLog, on the other hand, has high heat-resistance and is made from coated steel that stands up to the worst Mother Nature can throw at it.
Perhaps most importantly, TruLog may have offered those early settlers an improved quality of life. Because TruLog is truly maintenance free, it saves time that can be spent with family and money that can be spent at leisure—perhaps even on a vacation cabin.
To learn more about the innovative and beautiful TruLog system, or to request a sample, please contact TruLog online or call us at 970-646-4490 to talk with one of our siding experts. TruLog is based in Loveland, Colorado, but we ship nationwide and work with installers in states including Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Missouri and Pennsylvania.