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Published: Wednesday, 7/27/2005

Whitehouse: Volunteers work to keep historical log cabin healthy

Whitehouse Historical Society volunteers are working to fortify the 1840s log house that has been a landmark for decades in the village.

The historical society, which has maintained the log house since its formation in 1970, used money from donations and fund-raisers to purchase a product used to seal gaps between the logs in cabins. Volunteers have been applying the product, called Perma-Chink Log Home Sealant, to the log house over the past few months.

"It was very important that we did that. Otherwise, the life of that log house would be very short," said Orville Bucher, one the founding members of the historical society. "We've been fighting the deterioration of the logs for years."

Mr. Bucher's daughter, Nancy, helped research the best product to use between the logs. For years, regular mortar filled the gaps, but it chipped and wore away over time, letting moisture into the house and the logs.

Ms. Bucher said she spoke with experts at the historical Ohio pioneer Sauder Village in Fulton County and attended a seminar that explained how to use Perma-Chink.

"We were confident that this material would work," she said. "It expands and contracts with the changing weather."

The historical society spent about $2,400 on Perma-Chink and has been working throughout the past few months to apply the product. Volunteers hope to finish the project this month and hold an open house in August to showcase the renovated structure.

"The hardest part was removing the old mortar completely," said Craig Nilsson, a historical society member helping organize the log house project. "We hope that now we'll be able to go about 30 years before more major repairs."

The log house, located next to Whitehouse Elementary School, was discovered in 1969 during demolition of Standard Oil Co. buildings. The log house was covered with aluminum siding and was used as a garage.

It was moved and the historical society took charge of its upkeep. The house is used mainly for school programs and to house artifacts from area history. It is open to the public several times a year, including during the Whitehouse Cherry Fest.

"Our principal goal is to preserve the building," Mr. Nilsson said. "It is unique."



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