Historical Notes 4 – Kurio Cabin

Volume 6, Number 2, April 1993, Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter

The Kurio home, originally located on the hill south-west of the Serbin Store, was built in stages during the 19th Century. The first structure, a one room log home, was built in 1855 by Michael and Christina Kurio who came to Texas on the Ben Nevis. They added an additional log room, probably in 1856, which created a double log house with front porch and open dog-trot. Later the original log room was expanded into the front porch, and rooms along the back and a two story kitchen were added. Johann & Maria Kurio purchased the home in 1891, and occupied the house until the death of Johann in 1940. In 1924 Johann and Maria had sold the farm to G. A. and Marie Kurio. Their son Marvin and his wife Dorothy now own and operate the farm.

The house fell into disrepair while not being occupied, so in 1987 Marvin Kurio offered all or part of the building to the Museum. It was decided to take the 1856 log room, which was intact and in excellent condition, and the remaining parts of the log walls of the 1855 room.

In the Museum restoration the 1856 log room stands as a one room home just as the 1855 home would have been before the additions. Rotted sills, floor joists, floor boards and the front door were replaced with similar lumber salvaged from other Wendish farms. The shingles and roof construction are of new material. A partial corner of the 1855 log room has been reconstructed at the original distance from the complete room, so visitors may imagine the structure as a dog-trot home. Access to the loft was originally through an opening in the dog-trot passageway.

During the preparation for removal, great care was taken to record the original structure with photographs and measurements. The 1856 room was moved intact, but each log of the 1855 room was numbered, photographed, and its position sketched so that reconstruction would be accurate. The log construction is particularly noteworthy. The 1855 was built with full logs, cut and trimmed on all sides, assembled with V notching and chinked with stone and mud. The 1856 logs are half round, and assembled with half-dovetail notching, but no chinking was used.

This project was made possible by many Museum volunteers, and a grant from George Boerger, Weldon Boerger, and the Coca-Cola Company. A project notebook was prepared, containing a scale drawing of the floor plan, photographs, and measured drawings and is available for study. Further information on log building construction in Texas is available in our library in “Texas Log Buildings” by Terry Jordan, and on log construction in Lusatia in “Geschichte Der Sorben.”

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