OSAGE | The log house on the northwest corner of the Mitchell County Fairgrounds is being renovated by the Mitchell County Historical Society.

The structure, donated by Denis Boerjan’s parents John and Marie Boerjan, was moved to the fairgrounds in 1965.

The project includes a new roof, new windows, chinking (the mortar between the logs) and other building supplies and expenses. All labor has been volunteer to date.

Boerjan, chairperson of log house committee, said the house’s bottom log was beginning to rot away near the building’s foundation. Initially portions of the old foundation were removed along with a badly rotted log.

The replacement logs came from the Boerjan farm, where they had been harvested and placed in a barn for nearly three decades. Dove tail cuts were made in the end of the log so it easily fit with existing logs.

While a portion of the old foundation was removed, Boerjan’s brother-in-law, Jim Krebsbach, of Stacyville, worked to stabilize the old flooring.

“I crawled under the floor and put in new blocks and shimmed them to create better support for the middle of the floor,” Kresbsbach said. “Next a new foundation was poured on top of the existing footings.”

With the foundation and log work completed, volunteers tore off the old south landing. 

The volunteers later began removing the old mortar from between the logs, then stabilized the logs with two-by-fours. Spacers were driven between logs till the new mortar could be mudded in and cured.

“We used a special mortar that is a little elastic,” Boerjan said.

Doors were also replaced.

“All the wood for the doors is hand-sawn lumber produced by the Cedar Valley Memories sawmill," Boerjan said.

The door’s wood was then aged by placing steel wool in vinegar for a couple of days. The steel wool was removed and the remaining solution was applied to the rough lumber, which created a dark, aged look.

During Autumn Artistry, the committee sponsored a fundraiser. Those who donated could write their names on the footings with a marker. Volunteers had previously discovered names carved into the original cement footings.

Several hundred dollars were raised and discarded scraps from the building and landing are being converted into artwork that will be sold as a  future fundraiser.

Window replacements and inside renovation are now beginning to take place. The historical society is still seeking funds to complete the project.

To date, the committee has received $1,800 in donations and a $1,500 grant from Shop On State, which is about a third of the estimated cost of $10,300.

Contact mchsosage@gmail.com for more information on donating to the project. 

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