I like to look at the old log cabins, barns, and outbuildings built by early pioneers and ranchers. Wyoming has a lot of them, and our arid climate means they can be in pretty good shape half a century or so after they were last inhabited.
The use of local materials is noteworthy to me. I like the simplicity and practicality of using what is at hand in a way that is functional and straightforward. I also like the way log structures fit into the landscape. They are not pretentious, screaming their existence from a mile away. They age and weather, becoming more like the surroundings over time.
This photo gallery is of some log buildings dating from the early 1900’s. Some of them have had updates such as tin roofs, but the main construction is intact.
Click on any photo to view the slides in high resolution.
This looks like it was once living quarters with barn attached. The milled boards would have been an upgrade from earlier log construction.
Witnesses of the past
The largest building on the place is thoughtfully designed and built next to the creek for easy watering of stock.
I love the way this barn has weathered like the hills themselves, distinguished by the compass directions: East side a golden brown, north side lightly greyed.
A great example of form following function. This forged piece has multiple hooks for work horse bridles with the long driving reins. A tangled bundle of bridle and driving lines would be a disgrace to any self respecting horseman.
The inside design of this barn is sturdy, clean, and practical. The spaced slats on the back wall are hay mangers. The hay would have been dropped down from the hay mow above. A simple and effective way to easily feed the horses and milk cow.
Using what is readily available, saplings are cut and pegged into the barn wall to hold harness. Notice the inside of the walls have a strip of wood to help hold the chinking in between the logs.
Another shot of log corner construction. I didn’t count the rings, but these would be pretty big logs for this country.
Here you can see the logs are very tight fitting on this barn. The foundation is made of stacked, native sandstone. Still pretty square after 100 years.
The deeply notched logs form corners with small gaps that need to be filled in with chinking. This log building has been preserved and re-chinked with modern day concrete. The original was probably chinked with clay- maybe mixed with horse or cow hair.
The rising sun hits the burnished wood on this log house which is still in very good condition thanks to the land owner’s preservation efforts.
Metal roofs have been added to protect these buildings. The ridge beams in these historic buildings were often left long. I have been told they were very practical for hanging various objects from lanterns to sides of beef.
With its wide, sliding door, this building was probably for livestock or horse drawn equipment storage. The main walls are log with the sliding door on the left made of sawn boards.
I like the way the wood has aged into different colors and textures on this window casing. The inside boards were probably tacked on after the building was abandoned, to keep cattle from pushing in through the windows. When it was lived in, those window sills would have made a good place for flower pots.