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History Log Cabins

Log Cabins

The following is taken from Craven's History of Horsham.

The oldest houses in the township were made of rough hewn logs from the thick forests that covered the area. Those log cabins had dirt floors. A large fireplace located at one end of the cabin provided warmth and a place to prepare the food. Some cabins had sleeping lofts, made by placing planks on the cross beams. A ladder was usually used to reach the loft.

After the fields were cleared of the heavy stone native to eastern Pennsylvania, the stones were used to build more permanent homes. Stone was used for buildings in the southern end of Horsham by 1720, and by the middle of the century, most of the prosperous farmers were living in stone houses. They were usually two-story building, with one or two rooms on each floor.

Later, as the family wealth increased, additions of similar size and shape were placed on one or both ends of the original structure.

Some of the original log cabins remained until after the turn of the century, and today, three partly log homes are still used as dwellings.

In 1682 George Palmer purchased a large tract of land that extended from Welsh Road to Easton Road and from Township Line Road to Dresher Road. Both tradition and historical evidence indicate that the first settler of Horsham was his son, Thomas Palmer. Elizabeth Palmer was given the land by her husband’s will and had the land resurveyed in 1685. In 1702 it was given jointly to her four sons. By 1709 Thomas had cleared a portion of the land and built for himself a log cabin. In January of 1710, Thomas received the title to the property. The log cabin is thought to have stood not far from the pond, behind the present fieldstone house, built in 1792.

On Privet Road (now part of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station) was the log cabin last occupied by Samuel Rush in the 1920’s. This had been the home of William Lukens, son of Jan Lukens one of the thirteen original settlers of Germantown. Jan Lukens had purchased this land in 1709. A small stream which flows nearby was known as early as 1713 as William Luken’s Run. The cabin was quite large, having three rooms and a sleeping loft. Permanent stairs reached to the loft, rather than the usual moveable ladder. Customarily the ladder was taken up after the person climbed to the loft, lest animals searching for food find him. Animals could easily enter the cabin at night because the door and windows were opened to provide ventilation. By 1937 William Luken’s cabin had fallen into complete disrepair, and was later cleared away when the land was bought by the Navy.

Another log house stood along the Davis Grove Road until the 1920’s. On Babylon Road near the intersection of Horsham Road were located at least three log houses built by members of the Kenderdine family, who founded the village of Babylon. One of these log cabins remained as a dwelling until the beginning of this century. At that time it was the home of the Patton family. It has since been demolished.

A log cabin was located on the Welsh Road near Norristown Road. It was torn down about 1920. About 1734 Hercules Roney built a log house near the corner of County Line Road and Maple Avenue. Members of the Parks family lived in the house from before 1848 until the 1920’s when the building was razed.

A house on Lower State Road about one-half mile east of Welsh Road is partly built of logs. Although this is not apparent from the outside, the log construction can be seen in the cellar. Welsh settlers purchased the land in this part of the township in the middle of the eighteenth century, and probably built the original log cabin. The other half of the house built of stone, was added during the Civil War.

A part-log, part-stone house is on the west side of Horsham Road, just north of Cedar Hill Road. The log section was built by Charles Mullin about 1748.

Limekiln Pike was an important highway in the colonial period and undoubtedly, there were a number of log buildings along the roadside. One cabin stood until the turn of the century, and another located in the center of Prospectville still stands. This is a two-story, part-log and part-stone structure that continuously has been used as a dwelling since it was built by John Wilson in 1758.

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Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA)
900 Governor Road
Horsham, PA 19044 USA
© 2000- Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
A Community Benefit Organization

Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA)
900 Governor Road
Horsham, PA 19044 USA
© 2000- Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
We are A Community Benefit Organization
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