Log Schoolhouse
Replica of a one-room school at the Wilkes Heritage Museum

I was asked to build a replica of a one-room log schoolhouse at the Wilkes Heritage Museum in Wilkes, County, NC. This was to be based on a general schoolhouse design that went back to the early-to-mid 1800's.

The Whippoorwill Academy in Wilkes County, NC,

and the Ebenezer School in Iredell County, NC,

serve as excellent examples of a one-room log schoolhouse.

Building a log schoolhouse within a building was actually the same as building it out in the open, except that we didn't have to go out to collect rocks to set it on. We didn't have to worry about a foundation for it since we were starting out on a finished floor as you can see in the first picture.

This is a simulated log schoolhouse. Normally it would not have 2x4 studs, but in this case we had to have something to nail the interior boards to. The second picture is of the rafters that will hold the shake roof.

In order to get the boards on the exterior to look like logs, I had to have some backing for it. I covered the exterior wall with wafer board. For the interior walls we just used 6" boards which we got from Lowe's in Wilkesboro. Lowe's does a lot with the Wilkes Heritage Museum so we wanted to buy our material from them.

In the interior you can see where I framed out for the doors and the windows. This is the same as you would have done with a log cabin or log schoolhouse. It's just boards going around the window and then the logs would butt into them as it will look like on the exterior.

The big window is, of course, the window that is in the Museum. We will have a picture later on that shows what the Museum did with the window. It's just like looking out into a farm yard.

After getting the walls up, we had to put shutters on the windows. I made the hinges, as near to authentic as I could, in my blacksmith shop. I rolled the hinges for the pins to hold them on there. In the blacksmith shop pictures, you can see the fire and the heat.

In the following picture showing a partial of the logs, what Cody and I did was to take a 6" board and then I took an electric planer (which is a like a regular plane except that it has motorized knives on the bottom of it ) and ran down each edge of the boards to round them a little bit. Then I took the boards, some of them 12' long, and on the flat just hopped down the face, twisting the planer back and forth, just touching the board and cutting notches in it. Then, after that, I took a hatchet and started at one end and chopped all the way down the board to make it look like it was a hand-hewed log.

You can see the difference in the color of the shutters. In this case, they were actually made from an old door that one of the Museum's volunteers who lives close by gave to us to make them out of.

This picture shows the cedar shake roof as it would have been built originally. The picture shows two rows of shakes, but I did go back and put a third row to give the roof a more finished look, as you can see in the second picture, below.

Now we start the caulking. This caulking material is real log cabin caulking that Cody and I had to go to Boone, NC, to get. It is a vinyl which, of course, would not have been available when they originally built log cabins and schoolhouses. If we had used regular caulking, which would have been made from mud or some form of cement, it would have dried out and flaked. This vinyl caulking will not dry out and flake, but it gives the same appearance as regular log caulking.

The next picture shows Cody mounting the schoolroom benches. Carolyn and I had two old school benches, I am not even sure where they came from now. The Museum also had two that were very similar. We donated ours so that the log schoolhouse has four to make out the classroom.

Below, you can see a shelf in the corner of the picture that has hooks I made in the blacksmith shop mounted on the underneath for the students to hang their coats on. This, along with a boot box that Cody and I made, is as it would have been in the early classrooms.

I made the teachers desk out of pine. Carolyn and I have collected turkey feathers here on the farm, and I sharpened one of them just like they would have back then. I actually used it to write with so it does work and it does hold ink. Carolyn had an old bottle of black ink that we gave to the Museum for their use.

Picture of replica one-room log school house at Wilkes Heritage Museum

The final picture shows the exterior caulking and a small plaque that I made with sloped sides so the Museum curator could put what she wanted on it.

We went back to the Wilkes Heritage Museum and took a picture "out" of the big window so you can see "the farm." It is very authentic looking.

Picture of Farm Scene from log schoolhouse window.

Log Schoolhouse Early American Christmas

Picture of Early American Christmas at log schoolhouse

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