Tiny Houses of the Historic Northwest - Tiny House Blog

Tiny Houses of the Historic Northwest

Zol Fox emailed me an interesting article showing some of the logging history of the Northwest and included in the email a couple of pictures of tiny houses built from hollowed out logs.

The size of the trees that were taken down in the Northwest 150 years ago is something impressive. We are not likely to see anything like this in this area ever again. Below I’ve shared a few of those photographs.

A hollowed out log became a mobile office.

Hollowed out logs were used to house and feed the crews.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this shared piece of our history.

CJ just sent me some photos he took at St. Augustine, Florida, he says: These were taken with ipod, so quality is not the greatest but they fit nicely with your post today.

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MJ - November 13, 2011 Reply

Amazing and sad at the same time…

    julie - November 14, 2011 Reply

    That is exactly what I was thinking. It’s hard to believe that there were trees that big, and not growing in a state park in CA.

Dawn - November 13, 2011 Reply

I started to read this thinking I would get some new info and ended up finding pictures that are iconic to me since I live int he area! lol. Thanks for the reminder!

Graham - November 13, 2011 Reply

Amazing and very sad indeed.
Is it possible you could email me some of the original photos?

ashford - November 13, 2011 Reply

definitely cool, definitely sad. saw a great documentary “climbing redwood giants”. very sad how much they chopped down. Now they’ve found a very productive way to harvest that actually encourages growth.

As long as the rest of the tree was used and not wasted, I would live in the hollowed trunk. maybe a new lumber technique where they could use as much of the tree as possible, saving the shell.

Beth - November 13, 2011 Reply

My God. There really were giants once.

    misc - November 13, 2011 Reply

    Giants still exist. According to wikipedia, 78% of the Tongass National Forest in SE Alaska is still intact.

      cj - November 14, 2011 Reply

      Last year Obama granted rights to the oil companies that will begin to destroy much of the Tsongass. It is beautiful alpine tundra.

        misc - November 14, 2011 Reply

        It’s not alpine tundra, it’s old growth rain forest snugged up against British Columbia. No oil, only lumber and salmon fisheries.

          cj - November 14, 2011 Reply

          Thank you for the info, but I live in it for part of the year.

          cj - November 14, 2011 Reply

          The same oil drilling threatening the Spirit Bears also threatens the Tongass. It is unavoidable if this should come to pass. It is the same waterway.

          cj - November 14, 2011 Reply

          It is indeed, a mixture. 2/3 of the Tongass is glacier, ice field, mountain and muskeg. It is Rain Forest – Arctic Tundra – Alpine. We pick shrooms on the forest floor and then hike up above alpine lakes. Save the Tongass states that only 4% remains as untouched giant, old-growth trees.

Laura - November 13, 2011 Reply

Just have to save these pictures. Imagine cutting down a tree of that size with a cross cut saw. Someone should invent a tiny house that looks like this. How cool would that be.

The Wilderness - November 13, 2011 Reply

Awesome pictures!

Amanda - November 14, 2011 Reply

There is a log house like this one on display in the parking lot at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. It was my favorite part of the museum!

V - November 14, 2011 Reply

78% may still be standing, but these made me physically ill. We definately have been a CONSUMING nation. Use and abuse.

cj - November 14, 2011 Reply

We were in St. Augustine last week and this time I took photos of the log house carved in 1938. I will attempt to send them to Kent.

Tiny house in huge log - November 14, 2011 Reply

[…] Here’s something to gawk at: Tiny Houses of the Historic Northwest. There you’ll see a hollowed-out log that’s been turned into a cozy living space, and […]

td - November 16, 2011 Reply

I’ve seen this “Cabin” at the Virginia State fair. I guess about 15 OR 16 years ago. pretty neat craftsmanship. but, it was kinda sad. I know that the sensabilities 30’s were much different and it’s not like this thing is a touring whale carcass/tiny home.

BTW I LOVE St Augtine. I lived there as a child and lived in the smallest house of my life. A tiny cottage across from the bay on the island. How cool to walk down and play in the light house on the way home from school.

    Krisan - November 19, 2011 Reply

    Enjoy your memories of St. A the way it was, and don’t go back there unless you really want to get depressed. Anastasia Island is one big subdivision, with strings of condos keeping you from having any view of the bay or ocean, and the rest of St. Augustine is parking lot, strip malls and tacky little subdivision houses all the way down to Palm Coast. Cherish those memories of the old St. Augustine–it was my favorite place in the world when I was a teenager and you could still see the ocean, and dunes and scrub oak. Now it looks like Fort Meyers.

Frank Mielke - November 19, 2011 Reply

There are still some 10=footers(Sitka Spruce) with-in walking distance of roads in the Tongass. A logger told me about cutting a 16.5′ dia. spruce on one of the outer islands in recent times. There is a 9 foot red cedar stump close to my cabin on Prince of Wales Island, cut before there were chainsaws. So they are still around. It would be neat to have a giant chunk of wood to build with,but at today’s prices, I’d rather have the $ it would be worth.

Krisan - November 19, 2011 Reply

Wow, glad to see I wasn’t the only one who found this a major bummer to look at. I usually enjoy your posts but this was really depressing. And it isn’t a 1930’s sensibility, we still destroy our grandkid’s environmental heritage on a daily basis–the Trumps of the world get the money, and we do the dirty work just to have a job. One guy was talking about an impressive stump “still around?” Can’t wait to show that to the grandkids. Isn’t this what Tiny Houses are NOT all about????

Leslie - November 19, 2011 Reply

Makes me ill……

Sejd - November 19, 2011 Reply

These pictures are interesting only because it tells us how big the trees around here used to be. Made me really sad to see how stupid humans can be in regard to the environment which is supposed to sustain us.

Ray - November 19, 2011 Reply

Crimes agains nature anyway you slice it.

robin yates - November 19, 2011 Reply

many emotions crossed my mind looking at these amazing pictures,sadness,wonder,.So sad to see giants like this almost gone from our world.Wonder at their majestic hugeness.Will we ever learn this world of ours is a finite source?

John - November 19, 2011 Reply

they are so cool, but yes I have to agree with everyone about the trees. I think I find all of what we have done to the world more amazing because of the short time we have managed to decimate it….what say a couple hundred years to do more damage than the whole of history. 😛

alice - November 20, 2011 Reply

Lost 2 big trees in our neighbourhood this week, though they weren’t old growth, that was all cut down back in the early 20th century. One attacked a car so it had to go (rotted in the centre, dropped a huge limb in the last wind storm. One was in front of the school, both over 100 years old but the tree was planted too close and was interfering with the foundations. At the local library there are archive photos of the old growth forest and many small streams here before civilization spread this far from downtown. Now there are trees native to every place but here lining the streets and the only sign of the streams are the constantly recurring sinkholes in the roads above.

Lorraine - November 20, 2011 Reply

My grandfather was a logger in Oregon back in the day, and one of these behemoths fell on him. They thought he was dead, but the ground was so wet and soft it buried him and nearly drowned him in muck. I remember seeing a few trees this size on the logging trucks as a kid, but they were most 2/truck by that time. Now they are 20/truck. Sad that they were clearcut.

sesameB - November 21, 2011 Reply

Interesting and a very nice read from the past.

From the home front: Ideabox plans Cottages@Camelot; container architecture show in Seattle; tiny historic housing and homesteads; his-and-her homes | Review Waltons Greenhouses - November 21, 2011 Reply

[…] Historic Northwest: So, just how big were those old-growth trees back in the day? Big enough that you could carve out a single log and use it to house a logging crew or hold a mobile office, it seems. See the photos at the Tiny House Blog. […]

Christine Ferguson - April 13, 2013 Reply

Astounding! Interesting to see how many people used the word ‘sad’. I agree and feel gratified that our tiny house associates seem like generally very nice, sensitive people. Cheers from Andalucia in Spain folks from where urbanistic abuses abound! Let’s keep our environments wholesome (holy) ! And weep for the abuses.
Mind ya to live in a log would be something!

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