Historic log house moving to new home

EIGHTY FOUR, Pa. (AP) — It’s going to be a moving experience, to be sure.

Taking apart a home log by log is the task being undertaken by Jeff Pleta of East Washington, under contract with Washington County History and Landmarks.

The Sumney log home is being donated by its owners, Mr. and Mrs. Philip Long, to the county, which plans to rebuild it in Mingo Creek County Park, not far from the site where it’s stood for more than 200 years.

Preparations began in August with the removal of interior walls.

“He’s super, super, super meticulous,” history and landmarks coordinator and board member Sandy Mansmann said of Pleta. “Very preservation-minded. He’s careful.”

Lisa Cessna, executive director of Washington County Planning Commission, which oversees county parks, publicized a request to find a scout who was interested in producing a notch-by-notch notation as a guide to reassembly.

Answering the call was Kelly McChesney of the Scenery Hill area, who will be tagging and recording the position of each component before the home is taken apart and stacked on a flatbed truck that will haul the logs to the park.

“The county donated starter money,” Mansmann said. “I have to raise another $3,500 for the dismantling. To resurrect it, I’ll be applying for grants.”

The entire project could’ve been sidetracked when a giant oak tree on the property came crashing down. Luckily, it narrowly missed the house.

Mansmann has her own ideas about the tree, believed to be more than 200 years old, which was brought down by a hellacious storm in July. The trunk measured 48 inches across, making it one of the biggest trees in the county when it was uprooted during torrential rain and fell, blocking the road.

“It was probably there about the same time that the house went up,” Mansmann said. “Maybe the oak knew the log home was going to be moving, and it gave up its spirit.”

Although the Longs are the current owners of the home and the land, the structure itself is known as the Sumney log home.