Friday, January 6, 2017

Miner's Cabin (aka Wildcat Creek Miner's Cabin)

The major gold quest occurred in Siskiyou County, California between 1850 and 1910.  This cabin is typical of the small mining claim operations that contributed greatly to the exploration and exploitation of the County. 
            The cabin is made up of a single living room and attached woodshed.  The roof- line is the same for both components of the cabin.  The method of construction of this building is primarily broad-axeing. 
Broad-axeing on cabin
“Dogs” were used to hold the logs in place; in some cases the “dog” marks are evident today.  (“Dogs” were either metal spikes, bars or rods).  The sides of the logs were scored with the broad axe before a straight line was hewed.  Once the one side of the log was hewed, it was then smooth-hewed with the same broad axe and the next of four sides was begun.  The four corners of this cabin are good examples of square-notch construction.
Corners on cabin
Original site
The original cabin’s site was situated on a terrace along Wildcat Creek.  It included the remains of placer mining operations such as washed out gullies, tailings piles and a ditch.  The cabin was built on Wildcat Creek, three miles west of Callahan, by a French placer miner named Louie Lattimore.  Associated with the original cabin, a sub-terranean root cellar, the foundation of an outbuilding (possible shed) and a trash scatter were observed.  The site privy was not located (perhaps due the nearby road construction).  With the exception of the root cellar none of the structures remain on the original site.
Remnants of root cellar
            In the 1860s Louie Lattimore was residing in the Mother Lode country, more than likely struck with gold fever.  During his stay he briefly encountered the law, and while trying to escape was almost caught.  Hiding in a flour barrel for an undisclosed amount of time, Louie evaded his pursuers and later headed north.  Working his way into southern Siskiyou County by Callahan, Louie built a cabin up Wildcat Creek and lived there until he died.  He never revealed the incident that forced him into a life of seclusion and fear.  Through examination of the Great Registers of Siskiyou County, California, it was determined that Louie Lattimore did not move into the Callahan area until after 1872 since he still lived and became a naturalized citizen in Plumas County in August of 1871.  He first registered to vote in the area in 1886.  Knowing that he was wanted by the law when he moved into the Wildcat reek area to hide, it is safe to assume that he waited and kept quiet for a few years before registering.  If this assumption is correct, then it is conjectured that he constructed his cabin sometime between 1872 and 1884.
            An interesting feature of the cabin is the slit located in the south wall.  It probably was used for observation, but it might also have served as a gun port.
Gun Site
            The cabin was located on International Paper Company land on Wildcat Creek, Township 40N 9W Sec. 23 in Siskiyou County.  The cabin was beginning to be vandalized, and International paper decided that rather than letting it be destroyed, its architectural uniqueness should be preserved.  In November of 1975 the cabin was donated to the Siskiyou County Historical Society and moved to its present location in the Outdoor Museum located next door to the Siskiyou County Museum.
            Many of the rotted base logs have been replaced and the cabin put on a foundation.
            The cabin was registered with the California State Historic Preservation Office and made into a “Point of Historical Interest” of the State of California in 1979.  As of a 1985 Forest Service report by Ali Abusaidi and Randall David  the land on which the original site is located belongs to the Fruit Growers Company.
Setting the cabin up at the Outdoor Museum

Before the shed was added

Adding the shed
Shed completed


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, but needs a bit of editing since it says he moved near Callahan after 1972 and I'm pretty sure that you mean 1872. He would have been mighty old if it was '72!