At Home, 1800–1840

in The Sangamo Frontier

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780226514246
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226514239 | DOI:
At Home, 1800–1840

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  • History of the Americas


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Much of the architecture of the frontier was fleeting, temporary, or poorly built. As the Americans pushed out into the uplands north of the old French villages, most of the buildings they built first were of horizontal log construction—log cabins. Most log houses built in central Illinois during the 1820s and 1830s were regarded as temporary by their builders. If a family found themselves in an area that did not suit them, then a log house was a practical, minimal investment. If a family decided to remain in a community as it passed through its initial era of settlement and began to stabilize, the cabin was usually replaced by a frame house. In Illinois, a lot of log cabins were replaced during the 1830s and 1840s. In some cases, the family would simply build a new house right in front of the old one, using the old cabin for a kitchen or for storage until it finally fell down. In other cases, the log house was enlarged by successive frame additions, tripling or quadrupling the size of the house, and completely obscuring all evidence of its log core.

Keywords: frontier; architecture; log cabins; frame house; Illinois; American settlers

Chapter.  3694 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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