The Siding Goes Up

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Image from the Asheville Citizen-Times depicting onlookers of the log-raising ceremony.

Construction on the siding began on May 13th, 1960 in commemoration of Zebulon Vance's birthday. The historic site held a log-raising ceremony, although that kind of event was more a relic of popular memory of folk traditions than a documented cultural phenomenon. Settlers in Western North Carolina like David Vance would not have held such a ceremony when they began construction. 


Workers construct the first story of the Vance house.

After building the frame on top of the stone and cement foundation, workers began constructing the two-story side of the structure, placing logs for sills and then floor joists. 


Workers prepare to begin the second story of the Vance house.

The workers completed the first stories by lifting logs into place. In this image, they had just completed the frame of the second story floor, and were lifting timber into place for the siding of the second story. 

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Workers pushed a log into place overhead. 

Site planners wanted the cabin to feel authentic, so they encouraged workers to use old building techniques whenever possible. Rather than using a crane to place logs over their heads, workers pushed siding up diagonal logs. 

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Workers pulled a log into place on the second story of the Vance house. 

Once the log was pushed far enough up the diagonal, the workers climbed into the cabin and pulled the siding into place using a rope on the second story. While the residents of the former structure had knocked the second story down to a loft, much more typical of a cabin in those times, it is believed that David Vance had a second story constructed with a ceiling height comparable to the first story. 


At this stage, the log siding is almost complete, and the roof is prepared.

With the two story section of the cabin largely complete, workers turned their attention to the siding and roof frame of the single story side of the cabin. They left sections of the cabin open below where they knew they would be constructing entrances. 

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Figure 4 comes from "Building with Logs" (1944), considered a gold standard in cabin building; the diagram demonstrates how to properly cut dovetail notches to properly fit together.

The finishing touches of the dovetail notches were completed after each log was placed. The notches themselves were hewn at a slight downward angle that would allow precipitation to run off the cabin. Dovetail notches are visible at the corners of the structure.  

The Siding Goes Up