The first European settlers who came to North
America did not in fact embrace the horizontal log-building
techniques, as we know them today. These English colonists
of the seventeenth century went with what they knew and that
was hewn vertical
timbers with the space between filled with brick or stone and
then plastered over. This building method was utilized for the
first 100 years of colonization.
It was after the American
Revolution and particularly in the Pennsylvania/Delaware area
where many ethnic groups had come to live did the horizontal
log building techniques develop. It is recognized that it
was the Swedes who brought these techniques to the New World.
The classic Scandinavian log home is built with round, tight
fitting logs with protruding ends and saddle notched corners.
Along with the other immigrants in the region they adapted
the European horizontal log with the English windows, door
styles and proportions. Combined this created the North American
As previously said the existing English colonists did not
embrace this building technique and it was only after the
Scottish and Irish arrived around 1720 did log homes start
to move out of the small pockets of local development and
spread across North America. The Presbyterian Scottish embraced
this type of log construction as economical and an easy building
method. The German method of log cabin construction where
hewn logs and squared off corners was particularly prized
by the Scots and this method plus the Scandinavian method
spread west and south.
The Pennsylvania Key Notch is also attributed to the German
immigrants. This includes a simple lap and keyed lap notches
plus round saddle notches. At some point dovetail corners
began to be seen, particularly in the Ozark Mountains of the
US and in Renfrew County, Ontario Canada.
After the American Revolution many loyalist migrated to Canada
and brought with them the log building techniques from the
US. The local French were using a method called Piece on Piece.
This is where a vertical timbers much the same as the original
English Colonists, framed the building and to fill the space
between they used horizontal filler logs. As the French colonized
western Canada specifically the Red River they brought with
them this method of building log cabins.
of Log Cabins