Want to live like a modern-day pioneer without moving to the prairie? For $3 million, Atlas Obscura reports that you can own one of America’s oldest log cabins: the C. A. Nothnagle Log House in Gibbstown, New Jersey.
Finnish immigrants constructed the abode on 406 Swedesboro Road sometime between 1638 and 1643. It’s believed to be the earliest structure of its kind built in the U.S., although this claim hasn’t been officially verified.
The one-room cabin was a functional residence until 1918, but during the 18th and 19th centuries, previous owners built an attached, two-story home that stands adjacent to the cabin. The property's current owners, Harry and Doris Rink, live in the larger house and maintain the log cabin as a public museum.
At 16 by 22 feet, the cabin is larger than similar homes of the time period, suggesting that its original owners were relatively wealthy. Still, its quarters were likely cramped. Children slept in a loft under the roof, and older family members slept on rolled-out mats that were stowed away during the daytime. During the summer, two logs were removed from the wall to provide occupants with a cool breeze—a primitive form of air-conditioning.
The Rinks—who have owned the property including the C. A. Nothnagle Log House since 1940—restored the cabin to resemble its original appearance, removing plaster, paint, wallpaper, and ivy to expose its rough-hewn walls. While reinforcing its floor (an 18th century addition, as the original was dirt), Harry Rink even discovered historic artifacts beneath the boards, including a a 240-year-old boot, toys, a fork, and an iron thimble.
"The cabin was built without nails," Harry Rink told The New York Times in 2000. “The logs are fitted together in a double dovetail fashion, which made it strong. The person who built it was an artist.”
The cabin is furnished with historical artifacts and furniture, and comes with a gazebo, shed, machine shop, and a four-car garage. Potential residents need be comfortable their home being a tourist attraction, as the Rinks are looking for owners that will allow them to continue operating and maintaining the log cabin as a public museum.
Check out some pictures of the C. A. Nothnagle Log House below:
Photos courtesy of Estately
[h/t Atlas Obscura]