IV.4
Botten Cabin
(Wilder Patrol Cabin)


Botten's Cabin

Figure No. 1: Botten Cabin


Two years after constructing the Remann's cabin, Grant Humes was commissioned to build another seasonal recreational cabin. This time it was for civil engineer Henry. H. Botten of Seattle. The Wilder Cabin as it was first known, was located 8 miles beyond Remann's cabin further up the Elwha River, or roughly 21 miles from the current trailhead at Whiskey Bend.

The cabin is a near replica of the Remann's cabin. The Botten Cabin is 14' in width, same as Remann's, and 18' in depth, or just 2 feet long than Remann's. It is constructed using log for the side wall with simple lap notching at the corners. There is a single front door and two double sash 4 x 4 casement windows. The roof is composed of pole gable frame, pole rafters, and a central ridge log. The most noticeable different is the use of split cedar planking for the floor, though this is similar to Humes own cabin. The cabin was assessed for condition in 1998 and 2006.

Site:
  • The cabin sits in a deep canopy of mature trees and undergrowth next to Leitha Creek with view overlooking the Elwha River. The leveled site was created on a shallow side slope. There is little drainage away from the structure, especially on the uphill side. Combined with accumulated duff, the lack of drainage has led to severe deterioration in lower portions of the walls.

    Recommendation:

    As part of the repair to the sill logs, it will be important to create an effective drainage pattern on all sides of the cabin.

Structure:
  • The round log walls have significant areas of deterioration. Three primary sill logs run lengthwise under the long sidewalls and down the center of the building. All these logs are deteriorated beyond repair. At the northeast corner, the severity of the deterioration is causing the structure to settle, which in turn is twisting the building, resulting in the wall displacement at the northwest corner.

    The floor joists were not accessible for assessment, but it may be presumed that the severity of deterioration in the sill logs has led to some deterioration in the floor joists logs.

    It appears also that an open joint in the courses of the roof shakes at the southwest corner has led to moisture penetrating the upper courses of the wall logs. This has resulted in severe deterioration of the notches and, most likely, deep along the full log. This probably resulted in the twisting of the structure moving the roof framing and splitting roof shakes.

    Recommendation:

    It will entail substantial repair work to stabilize the cabin. The cabin needs to be lifted and have new sill logs replaced. The logs range in size from 13"to 19" in diameter. They should be placed on stone piers with at least an 8" elevation from grade. At the same time, in leveling the building, the northwest corner will need to be rotated back to plumb and the notching realigned. Some adjustment will probably be required to square the doorframe. The degree of repair needed to the sill logs is not known, but if it occurs only at the end notches then a new introduced ledger board on the new sill log may be the optimal solution.

Botten's Cabin 2

Figure No. 2: Right: Rotational twist in NW corner due to deterioration of sill logs;
Left: Deterioration of joints in the upper wall courses at SW corner.
  • The repairs to the log deterioration at the southwest corner occur in the upper logs of the walls. There are only two complete logs across this elevation due to the door and window openings. These logs therefore are the "tie" between the front corners and need to be replaced either completely, or if a partial log replacement is done, the joint between new and old section of logs must be a secure tension joint like a notched and pinned scarf joint. It would probably just be easier to replace the complete log.

Roof:
  • It was noted in the 1998 assessment that the 34" roof shakes appeared in good condition with no signs of leakage. By 2006, deterioration was observed at the end of the shakes along the eave edge. Given the movement in the building, the buildup of duff on the shakes, and the current underside staining of the shakes at the eaves, the shakes are probably reaching their point of serviceability.

    Recommendation:

    Since there will be substantial lifting and realignment in the process of log replacement, all the nailed joints of the roof frame should be re-secured. This will require removal of both gable end shakes and roof shakes. Therefore, as part of the overall strategy of a repair project, the replacement of the roof shakes with new should be included in the program.

Windows:
  • The two windows in the cabin appear in good condition. Weathering though has most likely caused some glazing failure and the twisting of the building may have resulted in some misalignment of window stops.

    Recommendation:

    The windows should be checked for alignment and tightness for weather protection and re-glazed as part of a maintenance program.

Door:
  • The settlement of the cabin has misaligned the door frame, though the door appears to be in good condition.

    Recommendation:

    Following all the log replacement and work on the log walls, re-install the door in a true and square manner.

Interior:
  • The interior is exposed log walls, an open roof frame with partial storage loft of split cedar planks, and a split cedar plank floor. The floor may have to be removed for sill and floor joist work.

    Recommendation:

    If possible, leave the floor in place during log work, or remove and salvage just needed portions as required.

Porch:
  • The cabin has a small, independently supported porch deck just outside the entry door. It is supported by round wood blocks and a separate horizontal log, and decked with two layers of split cedar planks. It is in poor condition and should be replaced.

    Recommendation:

    Given the attention to craftsmanship by Grant Humes, the porch seems incongruous with the rest of the cabin. If there are any historic photographs of the Botten Cabin that show an earlier version of a porch, then consideration should be given to restoring the original design. Without such evidence, then the current porch can be replaced in-kind.



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