Pine Mountain Settlement School
1914 – present

Old Log - View of east end with vegetation

Old Log. View of east end with vegetation and road. [II_5_old_log_office_208a.jpg]

OLD LOG, 1914 – present

TAGS: Old Log, sawmills, settlers, Adrian Metcalf, hand-hewn logs, Big Log, Katherine Pettit, log house reconstruction, Mary Rockwell Hook, staff residences, weaving centers, Fireside industries, Evelyn Wells, Margaret Motter, Burton Rogers family, Barry family, Barny Junkers, William Collins family, Betty Yeary, Preston and Lane Lewis, Paul Hayes, Gift Shop, vernacular architecture, log cabins, Peter Barry, Katherine Pettit, Mary Rockwell Hook, Margaret Motter

OLD LOG: Early Years

Old Log was the first building at Pine Mountain. A note in a letter to Friends of Pine Mountain, November 14, 1914, described the history of the building in the year of its reconstruction:

While the mill was sawing splendid timber from trees out on our own ground, we built us, at the entrance to the grounds, our first house, a log cabin the logs for which had been hewn ninety years ago for the original home of the first settler on this property. We could not find it in our hearts to destroy the ancient landmarks, so we hewed a few new logs and rebuilt the house.

With its wide porch, fireplace, and charming low-ceiled rooms, it preserves the cheerful homeliness of pioneer days. We have gathered into it not only the homespun covers, quaint bedsteads hand-wrought andirons, the hunter’s gun and pouch of the past, but a group of little boys who love to sit by the fire after supper singing “Barbara Allen” or swapping ha’nt tales.

True to the spirit of the old days it is a hospitable house, and contrives to have a welcome and comfort for three grown ups and eight children in its two rooms, dog trot, and airy loft. In the morning it hums with sounds, while untrained little hands are learning how to make its beds “pretty” and keep its floors clean. At night you hear astonishing things, as teeth are washed and feet are scrubbed for bed. “I aim to stay with ye till you run me off. You don’t reckon you’ll run me off till I’m twenty, do ye?”

The original structure, formerly owned by Adrian Metcalf (born c. 1826), was not only a “cabin” but it was also a barn. The hand-hewn logs from the original Metcalf structures were brought to the present location just below the Indian Cliff at the entrance to the campus of Pine Mountain Settlement School and reconstructed to form an office and sleeping space for the first staff at the School while the larger cabin, Big Log, was being constructed. One of the first residents was Katherine Pettit, co-founder of the School.

The reconstructed log structure was in place by 1914, re-designed according to plans drawn up by the School’s architect, Mary Rockwell Hook. The logs used in Old Log were described as “one hundred years old” in 1926, making the structure’s logs some one hundred and eighty-seven years old in 2013. The total cost of the reconstruction is recorded as $605.00 in Evelyn Wells‘ historical notes.

Following the early occupation by staff, the building in the 1920s was designated as the weaving center and housed the hand-weaving activity of the Fireside Industries of the School. In 1937 the building was altered by the enclosure of the “dog trot,” the narrow go-between situated between the two cabin rooms. At this time an indoor bathroom was installed.

OLD LOG: 1970s Fire and Later Years

Peter Rogers, son of former director Burton Rogers, provides this first-hand account of a fire in Old Log in the 1970s:

On the morning of  ___1972(?) a fire started in the attic of Old Log, next to the oil heater. Betty Yeary who was living there at the time ran to the shop (Draper) to report it and the alarm was sounded. [Members of] the Board of Trustees were just sitting down to their meeting in Laurel House.

Very quickly, staff, Board members and neighbors converged on the scene. Some battled the blaze while others rescued removable items. For a little while the fire kept pace with the efforts of those attempting to extinguish it but finally someone remembered to cut off the supply of oil from the tank behind the house. Then the fire began to abate and the house and most of its contents were saved.

It took some time to repair the damage but it was soon ready to be used again. The landmark still stands and continues to serve the School. For several years in the early 2010s it housed the Gift Shop. Since then it has again become housing for staff. 

Residents of the small cabin included Margaret Motter, the Rogers family, the Barry family, Barny Junkers, a physician who worked for the regional hospital, and in the 1980s, Paul Hayes, Director, and his wife, Mattie.

According to Peter Rogers, other residents were William Collins family (1954-1957), Betty Yeary (1970-1972) and Preston and Lane Lewis in approximately late 1970s.

In 1987, the small cabin was remodeled once again, this time to more comfortably accommodate staff. The kitchen and bathroom and upper level were given particular attention, as was a deteriorating back wall which was partially replaced.

Old Log served as the Gift Shop for the institution until c. 2016, when the Gift Shop was relocated to Boys’ House.

OLD LOG: Ethel de Long’s Description of Reconstruction

James S. Greene III, PMSS Board member and author of the dissertation entitled Progressives in the Kentucky mountains: the formative years of the Pine Mountain Settlement School, 1913-1930, sent additional information about Old Log in an email dated August 6, 2018. It was in response to questions about Old Log history from Peter Rogers and was copied to the co-editors of the PMSS Collections website.


The phrasing of the [Dear Friend Letter] you cite from November 1914, “we could not find it in our hearts to destroy the ancient landmarks,” suggests to me that the remains of the house were on the property when they took possession of it.

I have a note from a conversation I had with Alvin Boggs on June 15, 1976, that reads as follows:  “The house that Old Log was made from originally sat down in [a] bottom and was two stories. When [a] splash dam was built the house was moved because of the flooding that resulted.”

At this point in time, I do not recall any details about the splash dam. That was an early point in my research and evidently it did not seem important enough for me to follow up on it. I would be interested in knowing where this dam was located. Alvin probably told me but at that time I was not familiar enough with the area for it to make full sense to me.

These letters from Miss [Ethel] de Long to her mother (Arabella) and sister (Helen), which are part of the Zande papers within the school archives, describe the building of Old Log:

1. Undated letter to Arabella de Long, “Thursday evening, Dearest Mother, It is one of the very beautifullest days..” Based on internal and external clues connecting it to other letters, this letter appears to have been written in April 1914:

“And the other interesting job is to see the logwall go up for our old log house. We tore the original dilapidated building down, & are making out of the hand hewn logs an old fashioned two pens & a passage house. As soon as it is finished, I think I shall go up & live in it with some child to keep house for me. I shall be there perhaps a month till the big house [Big Log] is ready…”

2. Letter, “Monday Morning—in the lumber yard, overseeing the lumber stacking…”  This letter, based on internal clues, immediately follows the letter above.

Old Log under reconstruction, c. 1914. Mary Rockwell Hook album. [pmss_oldlog_hook_pg_46 – Edited -1.jpg]

“You see how busy we are?
1.  Finishing the log house [Big Log] (am getting lumber in dry kiln for that this A.M.)
2.  Restoring the original log house.  (Jo Creech is on that today)
3.  Dam, reservoir, sanitary water closets.
4,  Planting gardens, corn, etc.
5.  Building tool house
6.   “            tiny log rest house.
7.  Excavating for Laurel, or Family House.”

3.  Letter to Helen de Long, Tuesday A.M. [May 26? 1914]

“I am on the porch of the ‘Old Log House’ which is being rebuilt for a ‘museum’—; two pens and a passage is the style of architecture; wide passage, porch 46’ x 9’, & low sloping roofs; chimney at each end; pretty windows; batten doors. I am coming up here to live as soon as it is done, Eve [Newman] & I & a couple of children. We will get it ready for the occupancy of guests & then I shall move on to the New Log House. I want to make this place the prettiest ever for our guests.

“The reason I’m sitting here is to oversee the chimney bldg. & the scrubbing of the old logs & to ‘counsel’ the house builder.”

4.  Dearest Mother—Fountain pen has gone dry… ”  [June 5, 1914]

“And can you believe it?  I have moved up to the dear old log house. It is perfectly wonderful to have a room of my own & my own things, that I packed last May, actually unpacked. And to have three little boys, and to be living 1/2 mile from the nearest neighbor! … The house as you know is the old-fashioned two pens and a passage—with wide front porch…. Yesterday & today I’ve been bossing, having the house cleaned inside & out (all the logs have to be scrubbed after the cracks have been plastered), the grounds around cleaned, & the furniture moved.”

5.  [To Arabella and Helen de Long]  June Seven [1914]

“I look out of my window and see nothing but green, & such a cool green this morning for it is cloudy…. I see bushes of blooming laurel and even admire the 4 posts that hold up the roof of this house. Uncle Wm. chose them, pine posts with the limbs sawed off three or four inches from the trunks, the handiest things for the little boys to climb & for ‘a feller to scratch his back on.’”*

I have always enjoyed this image of William Creech thinking about the children who were going to live in the house and wanting to do something to make living there more pleasurable for them.

“John Peter, November 1958.” Peter Rogers on Old Log porch. Note the post with sawed-off limb. [pmss_peter_rogers_nace_II_album_052 – Edited.jpg]

*In reference to Ethel de Long’s letter of June 7, 1914, Peter Rogers wrote in an August 19, 2018 email “…yes, I can personally vouch for the attraction of the front porch posts for young boys — and of the grapevines that still grow on them!”





OLD LOG: Gallery


Title Old Log
Alt. Title Old Log Cabin
Identifier Permalink: https://pinemountainsettlement.net/?page_id=1772
Creator Pine Mountain Settlement School
Alt. Creator Mary Rockwell Hook
Subject Keyword : Old Log, Pine Mountain Settlement School, settlement schools, Friends of Pine Mountain, sawmills, settlers, porches, fireplaces, dog trots, barns, Adrian Metcalf, hand-hewn logs, Indian Cliff, Big Log, Katherine Pettit, log house reconstruction, Mary Rockwell Hook, staff residences, weaving centers, Fireside industries, bathrooms, Evelyn Wells, Margaret Motter, Burton Rogers family, Barry family, Barny Junkers, William Collins family, Betty Yeary, Preston and Lane Lewis, Paul Hayes, Mattie Hayes, Gift Shop, vernacular architecture, logs, Pine Mountain, KY, Harlan County, KY, log cabins, 1914, architectural reconstruction, Peter Barry, Barny Junker, Katherine Pettit, Mary Rockwell Hook, Margaret Motter, Paul Hayes, “Ma” Hayes, Arabella de Long, Helen de Long, William Creech, Peter Rogers, James Greene III ;
Subject LCSH Old Log Cabin — Pine Mountain Settlement School — History.
Old Log Cabin — Pine Mountain Settlement School — Architecture.
Education — Appalachian Region.
Pine Mountain Settlement School — History.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Rural schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Date 2001-05-27, 2013-10-12 ;
Publisher Pine Mountain Settlement School
Type collection, image, text
Format Documents, collection of photographs, misc. formats, photograph albums ;
Source Series 10: Built Environment
Language English
Relation Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 10: Built Environment (Physical Plant), Kentucky Virtual Library collections <http://www.kyvl.org/> [searchable]
Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives <http://www.berea.edu/library/Special/saarchives.html>
Transylvania College Archives <http://www.transy.edu/libspcoll.html>
Univ. of KY Appalachian Archives <http://libraries.uky.edu/libpage.php?lweb_id=84&llib_id=13>
National Historic Landmarks Database <http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1756&ResourceType=District>
Coverage Temporal 1914 – present ;
Coverage Spatial Pine Mountain, KY, Harlan County, KY ;
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor n/a
Description Old Log is the oldest structure on the Pine Mountain Settlement School campus. Logs were taken from the cabin and barn of Adrian Metcalf, a neighbor of the School who built the first structures c. 1906. The reconstruction plan was executed in 1914 by Mary Rockwell Hook, architect for the School. The small cabin served as a Gift Shop for the School until c. 2016, when the Gift Shop was moved to Boys’ House.
Acquisition Constructed 1914.
Citation Pine Mountain Settlement School Manuscript Collection, PMSS Archives, Pine Mountain, KY.
Processed by Helen Hayes Wykle, Ann Angel Eberhardt ;
Last updated 2006-11-01hw, 2012-07-01hw, 2013-09-06 hw, 2014-05-20 aae, 2018-08-11 aae, 2018-09-02 aae ;


Peter Rogers, son of Burton Rogers, former PMSS director, and Mary Rogers, former PMSS worker, via email, 2018-08-17.

James S. Greene III, PMSS historian and Board Member, via email 2018-08-16.

“Old Log.” Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers, PMSS Archives, Pine Mountain, KY. Archival material.


Greene III, James, S. “Progressives in the Kentucky mountains: the formative years of the Pine Mountain Settlement School, 1913-1930.” (Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, ED Policy and Leadership, 1982). Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International, 1983. Internet resource.