Homeowner’s discovered cabin named to state’s historic register
By By Jonathan Stinson, Hartselle Enquirer
When Jim Barta bought 14 acres of property off Nanceford Road all he wanted to do was build a house but someone had already beat him to it.
When Barta first bought the property, most of it was covered with thick brush and trees that acted like a brick wall and not allow you to see past the tree line. But after looking a little closer, Barta noticed the top of a tin roof sticking out of the brush.
After bulldozing back the brush, Barta found the remains of a log cabin that was built sometime around in the mid 1800s. It is a single room structure, with a fireplace, a loft and two windows.
According to the Alabama Historical Commission John Y. and Mary Ferguson, originally owned the house. According to commission land records, Ferguson was still living on the farm in 1870.
The commission also decided to list the Ferguson cabin on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Barta could tell the cabin was old because of the way it was made. On the side of the log planks you can see cuts in the wood made by an adze tool. An adze is like an axe but it has a rounded top. People would use this tool to shave the wood so that it could be used to make planks for the cabin. Also, there were square headed nails holding some of the wood together. Today, people use round-headed nails.
Barta plans to renovate the cabin in order to make it safer and to preserve it for many years to come.
Right now when you walk inside the cabin there are shards of glass all over the floor, some rusted bedsprings and countless other debris that has accumulated over time. The debris is more of a remnant of another time rather than just trash and litter.
The glass is from the windows that used to be there and Barta believes the beds were used by who ever the last people were to use the cabin as a home.
Behind the door you can see where someone has lined the door with old newspapers and there is cardboard nailed to the walls. This was probably done to help with insulating the cabin Barta said.
The cabin itself is still pretty much intact. There has been some separation because the ground under the cabin has moved. The builders stuffed everything they could between the logs to help plaster them together. They primarily used clay but you will also find sticks, leaves, paper and anything else that was within arms reach at the time.
Barta feels he does not own the cabin it just happens to sit on his property. He said the cabin actually belongs to history and that he wants to do everything he can to take care of it and preserve it.
Barta looks at the cabin and is fascinated by the idea of how many people could have lived and died in the cabin.