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Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office
June workshop to focus on repair, preservation of historic square log buildings

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 15, 2008  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

Pine Mountain Settlement School to host hands-on training June 22-27

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Registration is being accepted for Practical Preservation: Square Log Building, a hands-on workshop planned June 22-27 at Pine Mountain Settlement School in Harlan County.  The course will feature instructor and log building expert Moss Rudley of the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick, Maryland.

The workshop will focus on how to conduct repairs to square, or hewn log structures. Training will include instruction in preservation techniques and hands-on experience working on a 1913 square hewn log house on the Pine Mountain Settlement School campus, a National Historic Landmark site.  The workshop is one in a series known as the Pine Mountain School for Practical Historic Preservation, a partnership between the school and the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office, which has presented workshops at the campus on various buildings and topics since 2002.

"We're targeting this workshop to museum sites with historic buildings, and homeowners and contractors who deal with historic log buildings who want to preserve and restore them in a way that is sensitive to their original construction," said Patrick Kennedy, Heritage Council restoration project manager.  "This is also a great opportunity for participants to work on a National Historic Landmark as well as learn skills from experienced trainers."

Participants will also learn how to examine a log structure for common problems, approach preservation work safely and understand what skills and tools are needed to perform the work properly, with hands-on techniques demonstrating full and partial log replacement and chinking and daubing.  For example, students will learn what tools and techniques are needed to safely lift a two-story log house and install new sill logs – those at the bottom directly on the ground.  According to Kennedy, rotted or deteriorated sill logs are one of the most common and difficult problems to correct.

The re-establishment of log features will focus on handling techniques, reinstallation of materials, and identifying and recovering or replicating character-defining features such as half dovetail and saddle notches.  Documentation, material identification and selection, and proper tool selection and usage will be covered and participants will receive a comprehensive resource notebook with reference materials.

The workshop is suitable for those with little or no construction experience as well as those with more advanced skills.  Participants should bring work clothes, sturdy shoes or boots and work gloves.

In 2004, Rudley conducted a log chinking and daubing workshop on the historic Creech Cabin at the settlement school, and in 2007 he presented a round log repair workshop at Putney Ranger Station, a Civilian Conservation Corps structure near the school campus in Harlan County.  He has worked on historic structures throughout the nation’s park system as well as on private and publicly owned structures across the country.

The workshop will begin with dinner at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 22 and continue through lunch Friday, June 27.  The cost is $690, which includes tuition, lodging and meals, resource materials and rental of safety equipment.  Also included will be entertainment and other activities offered throughout the week by local musicians and artists, such as traditional mountain music and dancing, and a field trip to a nearby historic community.

Upcoming October 10-12 is From the Ground Up: The Art of Building Dry Stone Walls with instructor Richard Tufnell, co-founder of the U.S. Dry Stone Conservancy, Inc., offered as part of the Pine Mountain School for Practical Historic Preservation series.  Presentations will focus on the history of building dry stone walls, with demonstrations and hands-on repair of a stone wall on settlement school grounds.  Suitable for those with little or no building experience as well as those with more advanced skills.  An award-winning stone mason from Scotland, Tufnell makes annual trips to the United States to work on special projects. 

For more information on these workshops see or contact Kennedy at the Heritage Council, 502-564-7005, ext. 138 or

Pine Mountain Settlement School was founded in 1913 as a school for children in Kentucky's remote southeastern mountains and a social center for surrounding communities.  The school's founder and benefactor was William Creech, Sr., who along with his partners commissioned architect Mary Rockwell Hook to design the campus and its buildings.  Today the school provides instruction in environmental education, Appalachian culture and crafts. 

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An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of historic and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 5/15/2008