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Place Made:
Guilford County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
Accession Number:
This woodwork is meant to approximate the interior of a log and stone house constructed by Scotch-Irish immigrants to Guilford County, North Carolina, during the middle of the eighteenth century. The log wall in the room was removed from the ruins of the 1760-1770 home of John McLean (1724-1807) and Jane (Marshall) McLean (d. 1790). John was born in County Ulster, in Ireland, and emigrated to the American Colonies around mid-century, first to Pennsylvania, and then down the Great Wagon Road to the North Carolina Piedmont.

The McLean house had three log sides with stone fireplace end wall. The log walls were not constructed like a “Lincoln log” cabin of the popular imagination. Rather, dressed logs were stacked between vertical posts. Properly done, this technique created thick and tight walls that had few gaps and needed little chinking.

Before its deconstruction in the 1950s the McLean house went through many changes: its bare log walls were sheathed in clapboards; partitions were added to its interior; and new window openings were cut. Ultimately, when the house was taken apart little more than the one log wall now at MESDA was salvageable. Because of this the room was re-envisioned as a space that approximated the kind of house new immigrants to the North Carolina Piedmont might have lived in. The most notable departure from the McLean house was that the solid stone fireplace wall was redesigned to incorporate two deep windows.

According to notes made by Frank L. Horton, the majority of the interior beams came from the Friedland School House in Forsyth County. The board partition wall came from a house in Virginia. The flooring was reclaimed from various North Carolina houses. A small number of interior boards from the McLean house were used elsewhere in the Museum to line the passage between the Early Lowcountry Gallery and the Charleston Colonial Gallery.

In many ways this room is an artifact of the colonial revival pioneer style rather than an artifactual installation of 18th century woodwork.

Credit Line:
Original Installation: Frank L. Horton; Renovations: Mr. W. Ted Gossett