All the presidents’ cabins: Why we’re so enamored with these humble log homes

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tags: Lincoln

About 36 million people will take to the road this President’s Day, thousands of whom will stop by a log cabin-shaped memorial to a dead president. Yes, “a,” not “the,” because there are many, many such places, a glut that speaks volumes about our country and one of its favorite myths.

Abraham Lincoln, of course, dominates in the field of log cabin memorials, with structures in his honor including a replica of the cabin in which his parents lived before his birth; one of the cabins where his father and stepmother lived after he moved away; an entire log village near where the sixteenth president spent his adolescence; and a replica of the cabin in which Lincoln was born, currently encased in an expensive neoclassical shrine in Hodgenville, Kentucky. That’s to name a few.

Other log cabins commemorating erstwhile presidents include Hardscrabble, the Missouri home a drunk and destitute Ulysses S. Grant erected soon after leaving the army in 1854 and which was later exhibited at the Louisiana Exposition in 1904. It was displayed not far from the Maltese Cross Cabin, a structure pulled from Theodore Roosevelt’s family ranch in North Dakota. Built by the wealthy clan’s staff, Teddy stayed in the cabin maybe two nights, but that didn’t deter thousands of reverent visitors from gazing upon it during the exposition. Both the Roosevelt and Grant cabins would be moved back home once the fair wrapped, set up for tourists’ roving eyes.

Read entire article at Salon

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