V.1.1
Elkhorn Ranger Station



The Elkhorn Ranger Station, also known as the Elkhorn Guard Station, is located roughly 17 miles up river from the Elwha Ranger Station. The Station complex consists of four (4) structures: Ranger Cabin, Woodshed, Shelter and Barn. The cabin and woodshed are in their original location, while the barn and shelter were re-sited in the mid 1990's due to a change in the river channel and a fear of losing the structures.

Site: General
  • Located in a small open meadow close to the river, the site afforded room for keeping stock while having a local spring provide water for the cabin. The cabin and woodshed are positioned on a modest bench just below the hillside the east of the river. Looking out below the cabin to the west is a five-acre open pasture bordering the river. The barn and shelter are sited at the north end of the pasture at the base of the hillside

    The structures are in open clearings surrounded by widely spaced deciduous and conifer trees. Lower ground cover grasses and native plants fill in the clearing and pasture.

    Recommendations:

    It appears the good drainage patterns are being maintained around the buildings. This practice should be continued to allow airflow around the sill logs and to reduce moisture content of local grade.

Ranger Cabin

Elkhorn Ranger Cabin

Figure No.1:Elkhorn Ranger Cabin, October, 2006.
  • The Ranger Cabin is a simple singe story rectangular log structure whose building plan is very similar to one of the Forest Service 1908 standard plans (See Figure No. 2). The original plan had two rooms, and up until the 1970's, the Elkhorn Ranger Cabin also has a front and backroom with an intermediate partition. A recent remodel altered the original plan to a single open room. There is now a storage loft in the front section of the building over the ceiling rafters.

    The cabin was assessed in late 1990's. It was found to be in generally good condition. The only noted deficiencies were the ends of some floor joists raised out of the notch in the sill log at the NW corner causing a movement in the floor, a deteriorated sill log on the back porch, and a deteriorated area under the sink. In the spring of 1999, the floor was sanded and painted, windows glazed except for ones with cracked panes, some cupboard doors replaced, screen doors fixed, and the sink plumbing repaired.


Elkhorn Ranger Cabin

Figure No. 2: Standard two-room ranger cabin.


Site:
  • (See General observations)
Structure:
  • The cabin is constructed with log walls resting on a flat river rock. The log corners are saddle notched. The logs are tightly laid with only some areas of wood chinking on the interior of the walls. There are log sill logs on the north and south sides, but the two courses immediately above the sill logs have been replaced with 6" x 6" fir beams. The gable end walls are log. The roof structure consists of longitudinal purlins on either a two or three log spacing of the gable log courses. In the 1990's it was recorded that log rafter were present under the purlins at the gable ends and one at the center. Since then three additional rafter braces have been added at each ceiling joist location in the storage loft section of the roof.

Elkhorn Ranger Cabin

Figure No. 3: Note fir beams replacing logs in sidewalls.


  • It is unknown when the 6" x 6" fir beams were put into the sidewalls. It is suspected that the sill logs and the upper two courses deteriorated requiring their replacement. The building could be "lifted" to insert the new sill log, but to insert any new upper wall logs required separating the "notch" at the corners. In lieu of installing new wall logs, the fir beams were just slipped in.

    There are two conditions in the structure of concern. First, the southwest corner of the building is subsiding. It was noted in the 1990's assessment that there was "substantial dry rot on ends of lower logs at SW corner." This movement is causing a slight twist in the building. In turn, since the log floor joists are notched into the sill log, the floor will torque. It is suspected this is the cause of the raised floor joists noted in the 1990's assessment.

    The second concern is the added rafter braces under the purlins. It is doubtful these are original except for the ones at the gable ends. The original interior wall would have added support for the purlins. By removing the wall, the span of the purlins was increased with additional bending. The rafter braces were added apparently to compensate for the removal of the partition wall. It obviously has held for the past several decades, though additional rafter braces have been added since the assessment of the late 1990's. The concern is that the rafters bear on the ceiling joist at a point close to their bearing on the log walls. This creates a strong shear force in the ceiling joists. In addition, a center brace from peak to ceiling joist adds further load. Park staff did say that when installing the new shake roof, the purlins "flexed" noticeably, and they indicated that in an unusual winter, snow depth could reach two to four feet in the roof. Under a very heavy snow load, this could place excessive stress on the ceiling joists. For the present, since no indication of failure is apparent, the condition should be monitored. This would entail an annual inspection of the ceiling joists and purlins each spring when opening up the cabin. Each member should be inspected for excessive checking, cracks, or other indicator of excessive loads. This should just be considered a prudent maintenance precaution. If any sign of excessive stress is noted, then corrective action should be taken. This could include the re-establishment of the interior partition, or other support solutions.

    Last, just as an observation, small remnants of red log oil can be found on the original wall logs. At last once in the history of the cabin it had a red exterior coating. This was a common treatment of CCC work in the 1930's.

    Recommendation:

    For present, the settlement at the SW corner should be monitored. It is presumed the settlement occurred following the replacement of the sill log and has generally stabilized with a permanent twist in the wall.

    Each spring the roof structure should be inspected for any indications of excessive stress and strain from winter snow loads.

Roof:
  • The roof consists of six courses of barn shakes and a ridge board. The 34" shakes are nailed to the purlins with a 10" exposure and 10" eave projection. The shakes are relatively new within the past decade and are in good condition.

    There are two penetrations in the roof for the insulated stovepipe and a skylight. Both appear tight and in good condition.

    Recommendation:

    The shake roof should be kept clear of any accumulating duff or leaves. Otherwise it should be serviceable for many more years.

Doors

  • Both the front and back doors are rustic board formed assemblies with a cross brace. Each doors also has a screen door for ventilation. The doors are in good condition. The doors are painted on the interior and natural on the exterior.

    Recommendation:

    Maintenance coatings of the doors will need to be done on a periodic basis.

Windows
  • There are four 6 over 6 double hung wood windows in the cabin and one single 6 lite hopper sash over the kitchen sink. The windows are in good condition. They are painted on the interior and unpainted on the exterior. Each window has a sawn board frame but half-log exterior trim. The windows were re-glazed in 1999.

    With the evidence of the red oil coating on the logs, it is reasonable to assume the windows were painted at one time. The assembled joinery of a wooden sash should have a protective coating. If they are to be left in a natural weathered state, the sash can be given a preservative coating and then stained.

    Recommendation:

    Consideration should be given to applying a protective coating to the windows simply from a preservation perspective.

Interior:

  • Floor

    The floor of the cabin is composed of 1 x 6 board with sections of pieced in 1 x 4. The floorboards rest on log joists that are notched into the north and south sill log. The floor is painted grey, last being painted in 1999. The paint is wearing from traffic and use.

    Recommendation

    The floor is due for another maintenance painting, especially around the kitchen sink area.

Walls
  • The interior surfaces of the log walls are painted white along with the underside of the log ceiling joists. Only portions of the log walls have interior wood chinking between courses. It is difficult to ascertain whether chinking has been removed or the interior was only partially finished.

    There are areas of paint loss where clothing and equipment are hung from the walls and ceiling joists.

    Recommendation:

    From purely a maintenance and appearance viewpoint, the painting should be periodically redone.


Elkhorn Ranger Cabin

Figure No. 4: Plan.

Elkhorn Ranger Cabin

Figure No. 5: Section and Elevation.



Woodshed

Elkhorn Ranger Cabin Woodshed

Figure No. 6: Elkhorn Woodshed , October, 2006.


Immediately behind the Ranger Cabin is a small 10' x 12' wood and tool shed. When the building assessment was conducted in the late 1990's the original structure was found to be in poor condition with rotting floor, sill beams, open holes in the shake roof and some deterioration of the wall frame. In the spring of 2000, a plan was implemented to completely reconstruct the woodshed. The building was sited three feet upslope from the original structure. The new shed is assembled from milled cedar. The rafters are clear vertical grain cedar. The roof and sidewalls are covered with cedar shingles. The building is in excellent condition and needs no discussion on its condition.


Shelter

Elkhorn Ranger Shelter

Figure No. 7: Elkhorn Shelter , October, 2006.


The Elkhorn shelter is a standard Forest Service L-4 plan from the early 1930's. Exact date of construction is unknown, but was in existence by 1940 and is attributed to the Forest Service as part of its trail system up the Elwha River. Originally sited closer to the river, the shelter was moved in the mid 1990's to the current location due to concern of flooding from spring runoff. (See section V.2, Period 1 of this report for more background on this type of shelter)

Site:
  • (See General observations)
Frame:
  • The frame consists of the typical log assembly. 10" x 12" sill logs support an exposed braced log frame. The sill logs on the north and east sides appear to have been replaced when the shelter was moved. There are signs of minor powder post beetle activity in the non-replaced sill. The log frame members all look to be in good condition.

    Recommendation:

    Monitor condition of sill logs and base of vertical members for powder post beetle activity.

Sidewalls:
  • The sidewalls are board and batten. This is most likely replacement of original cedar shakes. It was common to replace the shakes in the 1950's with board and batten. The north and east walls look to have been replaced during the move. The boards on the south side have shades of red oil coatings, similar to what is found on the cabin.

    Recommendation:

    Conduct periodic inspection maintenance inspection of condition.

Roof:
  • The roof is composed of 32" shakes with an 8" lap over pole rafters. Compared to an 1980's photograph it appears the roof and rafters were also replaced after the move of the shelter. It is in good condition.

    Recommendation:

    Maintain roof cleaning on a periodic basis for long -term durability of roof shakes.

Interior:
  • This shelter has two bunk frames and a wood floor on the interior. The bunks and floor are in serviceable condition.

Shelter

Elkhorn Shelter

Figure No. 8: Elkhorn Shelter.

Barn

Elkhorn Barn

Figure No. 9: Elkhorn Barn, October, 2006.

The Elkhorn Barn is a log-framed structure with a steep gable roof. According to the National Register Nomination, the barn was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the summer and fall of 1933. The structure has undergone substantial changes since construction. The function of the building evolved from a barn to a modified trailside shelter. By the 1970's the stalls, mangers, and hayrack had been removed and the wall of the two side bays had been opened. Similar to the Elkhorn shelter, the barn was moved in the mid 1990's to the present location due to concern with river erosion. In the move the building was turned 180 degrees, reversing all former orientation descriptions of the building. Since it was standard practice for Forest Service barns to have a stock door on a gable end and the current sidewall nailer poles for the shake siding are not framed for a stock door, the stock door and its frame apparently were removed when altering the building to a shelter type function. During an assessment in the 1980's it was noted that there were two shake covered doors on the south wall (now the north side). There is currently only one door on the north side. In addition, a considerable number of the log frame members appear to have been replaced at the time of the move in the 1990's, including sill logs and knee braces. Considerable portions of the north and east walls have had their shakes replaced also. On those shakes not replaced there are faint traces of red log oil. On the interior, the front half has a dirt floor while the rear half has a floored landing.

Site:
  • (See General observations)
Structure:
  • The log frame of the barn consists of three primary braced plate and ridge frames on a north-south axis. These frames are connected on an east-west axis by a series of log shake nailer poles. These nailer poles, plus two small angle braces at the open bays, provide the lateral resistance for the building. 5" pole rafters span between the ridge and wall plates, and in turn support 2 x 6 milled boards for the roof shakes.

    Recommendation:

    The frame appears to be in good condition. The horizontal shake nailer poles of the sidewalls give the structure stability and should be monitored for any connection failure or deterioration.

Sidewalls
  • The shake-covered sidewalls are generally in good condition. There are though several shakes on the east rake of the north gable wall that are deteriorated. These shakes protect the connections of the frame.

    Recommendation:

    Replace north gable wall shakes.

Roof:

  • The roof consists of 34" shakes with a 6" lap. The roof shakes appear to have been installed in the 1990's during the move. Except for a minor accumulation of duff and leaves, the roof is in good condition.

    Recommendation:

    Conduct periodic maintenance inspection for winter damage or loss of shakes.

Elkhorn Barn

Figure No. 10: Elkhorn Barn.


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