Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Swedetown Log Cabins / Layout

My husband and I visited Calumet this summer.

I bought the Swedetown book from Tony's Copper World shop. I was VERY surprised to see the photo of the log cabin at 3025 Bridge St. It said the photo was from Mary Bratetich. Later in the book it mentions that the cabin was owned by the Garbareks in 1897-1899. Antoni Garbarek was my great uncle. I didn't even know he had came to the US!

I would like to find out more about the history of the cabin. My great grandfather worked at the mines- but came to Detroit after he recover from a mining accident.

I asked Kathy Atwood about the log cabins in Swedetown. I wonder if you could sketch the layout of the cabin interior floor plan? I can see the out houses standing in the yard:-) I read that sometimes two or three families would live in one!

Kathy wrote back:

My mother talked to her brother and others who live in Swedetown and she told me that from what they could figure, the Garbarek log house was located right next to the 'bridge'. If you walked out the front door and turned left you were going onto the overpass, so the back of the house would be facing Calumet. I tried the address on Mapquest but for some reason it comes up way on the opposite end of the street. The house is gone now, that's probably why. It put my mom uncle's house way up on Bridge St. out where there were never any houses, only a dirt road leading through a pasture!

Mom also described the typical log house layout, based on what she remembered from her uncle's house which she said would've been somewhere across the street from it. There were a couple different styles of log houses, but she said the one you want was a mirror image to her uncle's.

I sketched what he said (as best I could) and am attaching it to this message. (see sketch above)
Sometimes two or more families could live in these houses, but usually when that happened they were part of an extended family, such as siblings' families, in-law's families, etc. One family might life upstairs with 'kitchen' privileges (which was basically a stove) but the families might eat together. The downstairs 'front' room might served as a sleeping room. Parlor furniture was often a luxury so the homes basically had chairs tables and beds, and those beds may have had four to five children in them. It's amazing with such lack of privacy there were so many children? Well, I suppose "where there's a will, there's a way".

Some of the homes had narrow stairways that went up the center of the house, but Mom remember her uncle's as been on an outside wall.

Sometimes to have a little more room, a lean-to kitchen or a kitchen wing was added in later years. In my mother's house, a large kitchen was added to the side of the house. When my uncle wanted to replace a window, he remembers the wall was more than a foot and a half thick, due to the logs.