NOTE: This story was originally published on August 17, 2013, and was located on the archived Preserving York website. It has been republished here for your enjoyment, and may have been edited for content and clarity from its original form.
I was asked if I could offer any information about the log house found at Dover Community Park, located along West Canal Road and a short distance west of Dover borough. Its beautiful facade is reminiscent of the days of yesteryear, and one wishes they could take a step back in time and experience it during its heyday. It’s hard to believe that the home originally stood miles away before being moved to its current location.
The history behind the house…
The Greater Dover Historical Society has done a fantastic job with the facts they have featured on their website about this log house. The below information is credited to their site:
The 1740’s log house was moved from Black Bridge Road, York, PA to the park on West Canal Road, Dover, PA.
The log house was dismantled piece by piece and log by log by the students and community volunteers of Dover. It involved taking apart walls of logs up to 30 feet long, a foot to a foot and a half thick, and getting them onto a flat bed truck. Some of the logs were made from Oak and very heavy. The bottom logs were from chestnut and even heavier.
When the house was dismantled all the logs had turned out to be notched. (There wasn’t a nail in the place.) Framing of the four original windows were of half logs. The floor boards – later to disappear along with their joists while they were stacked awaiting transport –were random width and original. Another telltale sign of the age of the house was the whitewash used as a wood preservative.
Much of the window glazing was the wavy glass of antiquity. Some of that was lost to vandals during the reconstruction, but the builders pieced together enough of the original panes for the first floor windows. The doors are original, along with all but 12 of the logs.
The house underwent updating during the centuries on Black Bridge Road, as evidenced by the clapboard covering the logs and the brick chimneys. It now has a few modern improvements like treatment of the logs with pentachlorophenol, a strong wood preservative, and chinking of styrofoam and chicken wire under the rough plaster.
John Schein the former director of Historic York, Inc. discovered the log treasure hidden under German-style wood siding and advanced Deterioration. The former owner, the J. E. Baker Co., made the building available to anyone who would move it from the firm’s quarry property near the San Carlos Restaurant.
Research traced the house back to 1744 and found it had ownership connections with several old York area families. Because of its size the house likely was built by someone of means.
The aerial image below was taken on August 11, 1971, and can be credited to the Penn Pilot website which offers “Historic Aerial Photographs of Pennsylvania”. At the top of the image, you will see the original location of the log house when it was located in Manchester Township. Additional landmarks in the immediate area have been marked.
Note that “Old” Black Bridge Road is labeled as shown on some online maps. This was prior to the road being shifted to the west where “Current” Black Bridge Road is labeled. Toronita Street may extend to the north from Route 30 and change into “Current” Black Bridge Road.
The below image was extracted from the Penn Pilot photograph above and is expanded so that the farm can be seen more easily.
The book – Combined Atlases – 1876 York County, Pennsylvania and 1903 City of York – offers us additional clues, and it appears likely that the property in 1876 was owned by Zachariah K. Loucks, owner of many area mills and properties. A map of the location is shown below.
Even with the history from the Greater Dover Historical Society, we still do not have any information about the former residents of the home. If anyone would be able to help, we’d love to hear from you. In addition, if there are any photographs of first-hand accounts of the home before, or during, its relocation we’d love to see those as well.