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Frontier Village

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Behind the Wasilla Museum is a collection of historic buildings moved from sites throughout the locality, now sitting in unnatural proximity to each other. Despite the loss of historical context, the buildings illustrate various construction methods.

There are four log buildings at the village, illustrating a variety of log construction techniques. None of the four illustrates the notching most commonly used in the wilderness, saddle notching. To some extent, the finish of the logs dictates the kind of notching. Thus, round logs are most easily saddle notched and are more likely found in expeditiously constructed buildings; hewn logs lend themselves to dovetailed notching, and both hewing and dovetailing require a higher level of axemanship. Variations such as diamond notching indicate a personal style, while lap jointing is the least secure joining technique.

The Walter Trensch cabin is constructed of round logs, diamond notched at the corners. The shed-roofed addition on one side is constructed of hewn logs, lap jointed. The Paddy Marion cabin is constructed of hewn logs, cut in half so that they are wide planks, rather than square logs. They are neatly dovetailed at the corners. The doors and windows of the building have been changed in size. Between these two cabins is a log barn, constructed of a combination of hewn and round logs, dovetailed at the corners. A shed-roofed addition on the rear is clapboarded, and there is a shed-roofed porch along the side. The newest building at the site is the Capital Site Cabin, constructed of logs sawn flat on three sides. Unlike the others, this cabin's roof is covered with sod.

In addition to the log cabins, the village has three wood-framed buildings—a school, a store, and a house. The last is a one-and-a-half-story building constructed in 1936. The village also has a selection of outbuildings, including a shed-roofed, log steam bath; a fiberglass greenhouse; a wood-framed smokehouse; and a sod-roofed, log cache.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Alison K. Hoagland
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Citation

Alison K. Hoagland, "Frontier Village", [Wasilla, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/AK-01-SC083.

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 128-128.

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