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One local man’s labor of love can be found in the United States. Petersheim Log Cabins are handcrafted and built to be transported on semi-trucks. The roof and porch fold up. These cabins can be seen from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the mountains of Tennessee.
“I train horses and I build cabins,” said Henry Petersheim, an Amish man who lives on the edge of Marion County near LaRue.
He moved from Mt Victory to Marion County 15 years ago when he met and married his wife, Lydia, who grew up here. They have six children. The eldest, Miriam, and their youngest son are at home while their scholars rode horses to school. There are nine Amish church districts and about 160 families in this area.
Henry started farming, but he decided to try his hand at building. The 37-year-old started by making wishing wells, playhouses, picnic tables and swings. Eventually he added cabins, small A-frames and even tiny houses.
“Everything folds up so it can be transported,” Henry said. “One customer used two ferries to get her cabin to an island in Wisconsin.”
Henry created wider two-story houses that were split in the middle for transportation and reassembled at the final location. He uses rollers to load the custom homes onto trucks.
Building is an Amish tradition. “All our ancestors were builders. We’ve been building since childhood,” Henry said.
Pine comes from Virginia. Another Amish man grinds them. They use tongue and groove method to build the structures. His first cabin was delivered to a campground in Bellefontaine. As the orders increased, his skills grew.
“From tiny houses to sheds to gazebos and pavilions – I can make anything you want!” Henry said.
He enjoys the challenge of creating custom projects to the owner’s specifications.
“I always look forward to the next project. I like to do something different. It’s all habit,” Henry said.
Henry has two permanent workers. They do not use electricity, although they run wires for outlets. The customer can have an electrician finish it after the cabin is delivered.
“It’s a full-time job trying to keep everybody happy,” Henry said.
Neighbors and local engineering students from Marion Technical College walked through his cabin and tiny house on a recent tour, admiring the hand-carved drawknife woodwork on the windowsills. The smell of freshly cut wood attracts the residents when they walk into his sheds. A gas-powered drill hangs from the ceiling to drop 10-inch screws into the logs.
While some tools have been converted from electric to gas, others are over 100 years old, like the hit-and-miss John Deere engine used to make ice cream.
A horse-sized treadmill is in one shed. The horse drives the device that sprays the stain on the outside of the house.
“It’s a one-horse power engine!” a visitor joked.
Wyatt Kerr of LaRue tried to turn the flywheel on the engine. A hand crank forklift also helps complete the construction.
Some customers prefer the log look, although others order board and batten siding.
“A lot of people like the old farmhouse without the maintenance,” Henry said.
After a tour, Lydia treated the guests to freshly made donuts with cream filling and the homemade ice cream.
The family is holding a bake sale for customers on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Customers can enjoy a slice of fresh pie or pre-order goods to take home. Furniture will also be available. To place an order, call their neighbor at 740-360-8969.
Anyone curious about the Petersheim Log Cabins can stop by 2624 Codding Road, LaRue.