How Do You Craft a Log Cabin?

Find Out at the Frederic Museum

By Dean S. Acheson

FREDERIC – No man was better at crafting a log cabin with an axe than Syver Torkelson, an immigrant from Norway, whose expert craftsmanship is reflected in one of the log cabins that now resides at the Frederic Museum in Polk County.

Torkelson used a hand axe to cut and shape all of the logs for a new cabin for his son Edward. He built it on a farm about one mile north of Cushing. In later years, abandoned and exposed to the punishing elements, the cabin fell into disrepair. To the rescue came George Sornson, a former Cushing resident, who purchased the cabin and relocated it to a site on Wolf Creek.

After spending many weekends over the course of two decades, he restored the cabin to its original condition. He donated the cabin to the Frederic Area Historical Society in2003 so that it would be preserved and enjoyed by future generations of local residentsand visitors. The Society moved the cabin the following year to a site adjacent to the depot/museum and the old library building.

That’s where you can find it today, along with a number of other interesting and fascinating displays, including a Soo Line caboose, decked out in bright red and white colors. There’s a display of cooper tools inside the depot/museum. Such tools were used by tradesmen called “coopers”, who created the ends (headers) of casks and barrels, which then were shipped by train to barrel manufacturers.

The original Frederic Depot was built in 1901. Passenger service through Frederic endedon June 25, 1961, and scheduled freight service ended in 1980. Since the museum opened in 1997, several additions to the depot have been made.

The museum is open on weekends from Memorial Weekend to late September of each year. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and other times by appointment for groups. Appointments can be made by 715-327-4158

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