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Log Cabin School 2011The Log Cabin School

When Kate Hanna Ireland Harvey became the mistress of Pebble Hill, she began an extensive plan for renovation and expansion of the property. The first building to be constructed under her direction was a two-room log cabin built in 1901.

Kate and her family spent the winter months at Pebble Hill each year. The log cabin was built as a schoolhouse for her children, Livingston and Pansy, where they could continue their studies while they were vacationing in the South. A tutor, brought from Cleveland, Ohio, ensured that the children kept current with their schoolwork. Children today are amazed that this family took the teacher on vacation with them.

The dog-trot cabin was an ideal design for the schoolhouse purpose. One room served as the classroom, complete with chalkboard, bookshelves, and desks. On the other side of the breezeway was the playroom. There the much-anticipated recesses often occurred. The room was furnished with games and other toys and was utilized particularly on cold or rainy days. The toys and other items currently displayed in the playroom all belonged to Livingston and Pansy.

Log Cabin SchoolMany guests came to Pebble Hill when the family was in residence. The children of those guests were also given instruction at the Log Cabin School.  For the youngest children, the time was spent in supervised play and for the older ones, it was serious study. Today, some of Pansy’s school papers and books are on exhibit in the classroom.

Many days after her lessons, Pansy enjoyed playing school. Her pupils were her teddy bears. She taught them what she had learned in class. She created individual spelling and arithmetic books and tests for them. She graded their papers. And interestingly, the bear named Teddy was the scholar, earning top grades every time. Her other pupils were not always so fortunate. Tobie earned a comment of “poor” on at least one of his tests, and others received low marks at times. All of the bears who misspelled a word or missed a math problem had to make the necessary corrections and turn their papers back in to the “teacher.”  Apparently, this play provided hours of entertainment.

The Log Cabin School is located on the Main Drive and is in complete contrast to the Main House and other nearby structures. As you tour the Grounds, be sure to include a stop at this unique building.

Log Cabin SchoolWhy the Pebble Hill cabin is called a dog trot cabin. The earliest and simplest log cabins were just one room. However, some families were just too large for one room. Other families quickly outgrew their one room making a second room a necessity. A second one-room cabin was built facing the first one with space left between the two. Both cabins and the space between were all covered with a continuous roof. This created a three room structure with the middle area serving a covered porch, a summer sleeping area and a storage area during the winter. This type cabin was particularly popular in the warmer southern climate where long summers made the third “room” a very usable space.

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