Molalla Log House

Announcing the Reconstruction of the

Molalla Log House

We are excited to announce that the reconstruction of the Molalla Log House at Hopkins Demonstration Forest will begin this summer, with grant funds from the Kinsman Foundation. The logs of the building have been in a storage warehouse since 2015, awaiting a site for long term placement, stewardship and educational interpretation. In 2017 the Board of Forests Forever, Inc. agreed to provide the Molalla Log House a new home.

Hopkins is the perfect location for this rare historic log building, where it will be a part of the overall educational programming for students and visitors. Here it will be interpreted for its wood craftsmanship and historic association. All rehabilitation work has been done carefully by experts in woodcraft to ensure that the logs and design of the building retain its historic integrity and that it is preserved to the greatest possible extent.

The building will be sited near the newly constructed ponds at Hopkins and will present a fitting historic landscape for this unique and highly crafted log building. The Molalla Log House may be the oldest building in Oregon, if not the entire Pacific Northwest. It was made of Douglas fir, without the use of nails, and was possibly felled in the forest and hewn by axe by fur hunters and trappers who migrated from Canada over the Rocky Mountains in the late 1790s.

The craftsmanship indicates that the original creators were expert builders who had learned their craft from centuries old techniques. The logs were hewn square and stacked horizontally to create a tight fitting 1 ½ story, 18’ by 25’ log building. Prior to dismantling the log building for preservation and rehabilitation in 2008, the beautiful half dovetail notching held the corners of the building together securely for over 200 years in the Molalla region of the foothills of the Cascades.

Even after 12 years of careful study of the building and its possible history, the origins of the Molalla Log House remain a mystery. The original builders did not write in journals or document the building or their early stay in the wilderness of the Oregon Territory. What they did leave is evidence of their brief occupation – an example of expert woodcraft and a fortified log building that stood on the landscape for two centuries – which was probably later used by French Canadian Freemen fur hunters, early American pioneer farmers and later 20th century owners.

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Volunteers and historians are rebuilding a log house in Oregon. Steve Redlin explains how the project could lead to new information about Oregon’s history.

The Molalla Log House was first discovered in 1984 and could be possibly the oldest pioneer dwelling in Oregon history.

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