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Roy Fure Cabin

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c. 1926. Bay of Islands, north side Naknek Lake
  • Roy Fure Cabin
  • Roy Fure Cabin

Roy Fure built this log cabin on Naknek Lake about 1926. Unlike the cabins of American trappers and prospectors of this period, the cabin has hewn logs, dovetailed corners, and exquisite craftsmanship. Measuring about 20 feet by 15 feet, the one-room cabin was constructed entirely of hand-hewn timbers, including the roof structure and the floor. The logs were grooved lengthwise on the bottoms to provide a tight fit over the logs below. The gable roof, originally sod on planks, was covered with corrugated metal in the 1930s. There is a window in each wall, and the door is in the long wall, rather than the gable end.

Born in Lithuania in 1885, Fure arrived in Alaska in 1912. He worked at canneries and at commercial fishing in the summers and came inland to trap in the winters. By his first wife, Anna Johnson, a Native, Fure had four children, two of whom did not survive childhood. After Anna's death in 1929, Fure married Fanny Olson, an Aleut, by whom he had a daughter. Fure had another cabin up American Creek and lived here sporadically until his death in 1962.

In 1986–1988, the National Park Service restored Fure's cabin. Sill logs were replaced and gravel laid around them to increase drainage. Other logs were replaced as needed, and the 4-inch-thick planks of the roof and the 3-inch-thick planks of the floor were replaced entirely. New corrugated metal was placed on the roof, and shutters were added to the windows as bear-proofing. Artifacts inside the cabin, which apparently date from Fure's occupancy, include a wooden lamp shade, now holding pieces of a 1927 Saturday Evening Post, a coffee can pierced to function as a shower head, an iron bedstead, and old cans and bottles.

The most prominent feature of the site, which slopes down to the lake's edge, is a 27-foot-high wind generator, scheduled for restoration. Other buildings on the site are an outhouse with walls and roof covered with flattened fuel cans and a storage shed covered with the same material. The craftsmanship and ingenuity evident in the buildings and artifacts contribute to an aura of self-sufficiency, typical of those who lived in the bush.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Alison K. Hoagland
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Data

Citation

Alison K. Hoagland, "Roy Fure Cabin", [King Salmon, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/AK-01-WE029.

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 278-279.

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