A Forgotten Story Writ in Logs

It’s amazing what goes by us, unnoticed, day after day. Then suddenly some trick of the light or pattern snags our eye and things pop into view that once seen, we wonder at how blind we were. This little log cabin is a perfect example.

From home

If it was facing the road like this, I might have noticed it even if it wasn’t any closer. And maybe if it wasn’t made of vertical logs, it might not have blended in so well. Here’s how it looks from the road –


Although with a telephoto lens it looks closer than it is. Check it out wide –

When you still had a life

No wonder I didn’t see it for months. But when I did I stopped and went back out with the camera on the next good day to shoot it. My approach was cautious; I wanted to preserve the snowfall and tracks and incorporate them into my images. I was also keeping my eyes peeled for No Trespassing signs, which were luckily absent.

This being the first abandoned home I’ve explored closely since moving to Wisconsin, the tingle of anticipation was even more intense than in the past. The sense of mystery and a story never told were heavy in my mind. I wanted to savor it. To draw it out. So I circled slowly, taking in details one at a time. Like the oil tank under the window, the icicles and the windows that open horizontally. And that teasing open door.

Hiding in plain sight

Like a few other small cabins I’ve seen and photographed, this house sits at a 45-degree angle to the road. There must be a driveway under that snow somewhere. But I wasn’t there to explore the yard, the house drew me into its orbit.

Second story man

I was a bit surprised to see there was a second floor to this little house. Just a thin segment of boards separates it and I can’t imagine anything but it being for storage. Especially since the little back part wasn’t part of the original floor plan.

For want of sentiment

Also surprising to me is the vertical log construction. In my experience and notions of log cabins, they are horizontally placed (my uncle used to live in a modern log cabin by the Merrimack river in NH and I remember being on site as a child when the crane was there to lift the logs into place, very cool and so much like a giant version of the Lincoln Logs I still played with).

Here are some details that show the different materials used between the original cabin and the addition in the back, part of which was a bedroom, the other a W.C.


Between the world and thee


Vacant stare

Look at that little ribbon of blue, would you? It speaks to me. Details like these hint at the story of an abandoned house like almost nothing else. Someone took the time and made the effort to paint that window frame. To make it cheerful, colorful and a home. As I explored further, I could tell this little shelter was once loved and cared for.

The roof had long collapsed inside and the floor was iffy, but I managed a couple of images I like. Why don’t they make light switches like this anymore? The coffee though, I have my doubts about.

Can’t get no power



As the seasons change or dramatic things happen to this little cabin, I’m sure I’ll be back to it. Whenever I pass it, I take a quick peek and wonder again at who built it, what they did and why they had to leave it. Some things will probably never be known.

When you walked away


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