Chapter IV   (quotes from the book are in olive)

     This chapter of Laura's book was a bit of mystery until very recently.  In it she speaks of both her summer cabin in North Carolina but also of odd house she had considered purchasing and moving to Tallahassee.  She gives us clues as to the structure under consideration but never provides its name or history.  So, like with much of her writing, she challenges us to dig deeper and find out for ourselves the background of things she writes about.  Here is the opening paragraph;

     Having moved a cabin log by log in the Blue Ridge, I must have concluded I could move mountains.  It occurred to me that it might not be impossible to move a small house from St. Petersburg, Florida, to a site in Tallahassee.  There was, of course, a considerable difference between ten and two-hundred-fifty miles, and also between moving a load of logs and a structure with four walls.  Consulting a mover, I was told the roof would have to be removed and during the process the cornices might be destroyed.  The little house, constructed by the builders of a museum to display woods of various trees in the world, was, like its neighbor, a model of Tudor architecture, with the steep roof cut away over doors and windows to represent the rood of a thatched cottage and with the tall chimney surmounted by a chimney pot.  It had charm, but the mover, upon close examination, discovered termites in the foundation.  Thus it was not necessary to arrange a police escort and to cut obstructing overhead wires for the long journey.  I decided to begin from the ground up and to include in my design features of an old English house, with certain adaptations, such as overhanging eaves, which offer protection from sun and rain in a southern climate.

 Background of 1st Paragraph

     The mystery house Laura refers to was a tourist destination in St. Petersburg, Florida known as the Earl Gresh Wood Parade.  Earl Gresh was a woodworker who, during the Great Depression, found a unique way to survive the economic turmoil embroiling the nation.  Turning his woodworking talent to creating wooden fishing lures, tackleboxes and eventually even wooden purses, Gresh opened his woodshop to public.  As his reputation grew, Gresh erected a museum to what he thought was the most useful thing nature provided man, wood.  The museum (pictured on a postcard above), opened on January 13th, 1939 with a ceremony attended by the then governor of Florida, Fred P. Cone.  Made of and displaying exotic woods, the house was famous for its cedar shingled roof and ancient cypress stump displayed prominently in one room.  Closing in 1959 as tourist traffic was diverted by newly constructed expressways, the Wood Parade was put up for sale.  Though Laura didn't purchase the home, it did end up having a second life for today it is the Melting Pot Restaurant located at 2221 N. 4th Street.

     The Blue Ridge cabin Laura refers to in the opening sentence was a summer home she maintained near the town of Little Switzerland, NC.  This small and very old cabin was moved from one side of a mountain to the present location with the help of Bascom Hoyle, (the stone mason for the cottage here in Tallahassee, FL).  Below are some pictures of how the cabin looks today where it stands at 20 Willow Drive, Spruce Pine, NC.

Front of CabinBack of CabinSide of Cabin, detailFireplace inside cabinCabin Chimney