Cool Things - Log House
A partial construction of a log house in the main gallery of the Kansas Museum of History offers a depiction of life in central Kansas during the mid-1860s.
The house itself is an artifact, part of the shell of the structure built by Solomon Humbargar in the Saline River Valley near Culver in the 1860s.
Humbargar came to Kansas in 1857, settling first on the Solomon River in northeast Saline County. He eventually came to the north bank of the Saline River, where he survived on farming and hunting and gained a reputation as a buffalo hunter, Indian fighter, and scout.
The house walls were constructed of hewn cottonwood logs, but structural components such as ceiling joists and rafters were milled lumber and probably cut at a sawmill in Salina. The actual date of construction is unknown but believed to be about 1866, the year Humbargar filed a claim for his land under the Homestead Act. A frame lean-to was added to the rear of the house before 1883.
Humbargar married Nancy Ann Alley, the sister of a close friend, in 1871. They had two sons, Charles and Howard. The family lived in the house until the 1890s, when a spacious two and one-half story, 11-room frame house was constructed southeast of the log house. The log building then was moved about 100 feet and used as a farm outbuilding. Another structure was added to one side for use as a granary.
Solomon Humbargar lived in the frame house until his death in 1917; Nancy remained there until her death in 1925. Over the years, the frame house was dismantled but the log house survived. In 1986 it was partially reconstructed in the gallery of the Kansas Museum of History.
The Humbargar house is 16 feet wide and 14 feet deep. The walls are approximately 10 feet high and 8 inches thick. The height of the individual logs ranges from 15 to 20 inches. Short, split boards and stones are used for chinking materials; a lime/sand mixture may have been used for daubing. The two sides of the house which had additions were protected from the elements; these logs are what remain today. The other, exposed, sides had deteriorated considerably. The interior walls were whitewashed; the wall of the stairway still shows portions of the newspapers used to cover the walls.
Entry: Cool Things - Log House
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: November 1995
Date Modified: November 2012
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.