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The Early Plank House (Swedish Log Cabin)

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Swedish Log Cabin
18th century. 1963–1964 moved and restored

Formerly called the oldest building in Lewes, nothing is known of the origins of this tiny house, except that its original location, at 314 Pilottown Road, formed part of the seventeenth-century patent of Swedish settler Helmanus Wiltbank, whose house was unfortunately demolished in the early 1930s. The plank floor suggests that it was used as a dwelling and, indeed, it might have been the original Wiltbank home, as some have speculated, and thus a rare survival of a seventeenth-century “Swedish” log house. Plank houses continued to be built for generations throughout the eastern United States, however, and are difficult to date; this one may be c. 1780. The original chinking was of clay, hair, and buck-wheat shells. In the early twentieth century, the dwelling served as a smokehouse. Local carpenter Frederick Hudson restored it in 1964.

Writing Credits

Author: 
W. Barksdale Maynard
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Citation

W. Barksdale Maynard, "The Early Plank House (Swedish Log Cabin)", [Lewes, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DE-01-ES16.1.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 270-270.

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