Before being moved to its present location in 2005, the log cabin was located at 29 Mile Road and Campground Road in Washington Township. It was owned by Bob Neilsen’s family, and was the site of their annual get togethers. Bob’s father, Cortland Neilsen was a salesman living in Detroit with his family, and since the cabin was only about 45 minutes from home, he could use it to “get away.”
In 1939, when Bob was 9 years old, his father put in the foundation for the made-to-order home from Pioneer Log Cabin Company out of Roscommon, Michigan. With that done, the company put up the logs (no nails) in one day. The logs had been marked with numbers where they went, and were put together in a tongue and groove fashion. The walls and rafters were put up with sledge hammers. Mr. Neilsen installed the roof boards and the entire interior, including the partitions. Bob’s cousin and her husband painted the interior of the cabin with five coats of varnish. There was a fifty-foot flagpole installed outside the front door.
Electricity was never put in the cabin. The kitchen had an icebox and a wood-burning cook stove (similar to the stove that is in there now.) The original stove and some other pieces were donated to the Washington Historical Society and are on display in their museum. A high shelf in the kitchen was for the kerosene lamps at night so the kids would not touch them. The living room had a ten-foot table with two benches made out of one piece of log. An overhead lamp was hung from the beam above the table. Four people could sleep in the bedroom, and two more people slept on an army cot in the living room. When Bob’s mother became a widow in 1947, she and her two sisters would stay in the cabin for a week or so. His aunts were dressmakers in Detroit.
There was a strap hanging from the ceiling of the spiral outhouse (from one of the Detroit streetcars) to help you get up if you needed it. Bob’s father called on London Dairy in Port Huron, and he saw a spiral outhouse on Gratiot Avenue while on his was way to Port Huron (it might have been Muttonville). The pump house exterior was constructed so the cows couldn’t get in. The stonework was done by a Free Methodist Minister from a church in Romeo. The church he built in Romeo is still standing. On Sundays the family would go to the cabin for picnics. Sometimes the church (Danish Lutheran Church in Detroit-St. Peter’s) would also have picnics at the log cabin, and they would borrow chairs form the undertaker in Romeo.
The log cabin was moved to the historic village in April 2005.
Interior of the log cabin during the holidays
The kitchen includes a wood burning stove
The bedroom has a pine wood bunkbed
Moving the log cabin to the historic village in 2005