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Stump Houses from the Past

People | March 12, 2017

The Pacific Northwest had seen some of the most important number of settlers seeking for a new life throughout the nineteenth century. However, the journey to a peaceful life in the placid woodlands moving towards the Northwest was not completely an easy endeavour.

The habitants had to instantly confront some dark dense woodlands while also fighting (although not literally but at least on an economical level) against big logger companies to have enough timber to construct their houses, barns, and many other structures.

Most of the time, what was often left was scarred landscape and some scrap wood, of which most was in the form of stumps that large companies deemed useless.

Some of these stumps were as high as ten feet, and the dwellers are forced to accommodate these clearly undesirable woods.

The impression of the those pioneers who first headed to these woodlands, was that it was a great surprise to discover such vast land with tremendous potential for farming and development, all exclusive to their disposal.

However, when the initial awe had waned, the settlers had to face the reality of sprucing the land of these towering stumps. These homesteads rather proved to be more challenging. Many stumps would either needed to be burnt or rooted out because this was the only way to create the space for some orchards and crops to keep the livestock and also the families of the pioneers sustained.

The enormity of the undertaking kept the settlers at bay. They resorted to simply living with these stump infested lands, a few settlers even arranged musical festivals and started dances around these stumps.

Slowly but surely, a number of people began o see a way around the problem. Soon, they started building roofs on top of these naturally tall and safely rooted pillars.

A roof over the stumps and adding a gate or a window meant a swift makeshift shed where farmers can keep their chicken, and other livestock completely safe from bear, bobcats, and even racoons.

Tree stumps served as temporary shelter for some travellers and migrants who seek safety from treacherous weather or some dangerous predators. Yet using these stumps in building a cabin or a house worthy of living in was a totally new matter.

Records show that as early as 1847, a pioneering family known as McAllister’s had primarily settled in the south of Tumwater on Bush Prairie. They chose to build a simple and proper house out of stumps when they migrated to Medicine Creek area near Nisqually.

Living in their stump house and also building a proper house for their family, the McAllisters utilized the structure as a barn that benefited them very well.

Later in the century, another story emerged relating to William D. McDonald in 1892 who willingly took the most noteworthy idea of opening the first US Post Office in a wide roofed structure constructed out of stumps.

The Post Office was located in an isolated northern region of the Olympic Peninsula, around ten miles southwest of Port Angeles positioned on the eastern edge of the Elwha River.

H/T TheVintageNews

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