Academic journal article Alberta History

Tom Wilson's Cabin

Academic journal article Alberta History

Tom Wilson's Cabin

Article excerpt

TOM WILSON'S CABIN (June 9, 1976 Column #1080) by Fred Schutz

On a trip to the Kootenay Plains in 1972, before Lake Abraham had been created by the building of the Bighorn Dam, I took a picture of the log cabin that Tom Wilson built and lived in during the first decade of this century. At that time the cabin was nearly seventy years old and still in an excellent state of preservation.

Last winter I was reading a book called Old Indian Trails, by Mary Schaffer, published in 1911. In this book Mrs. Schaffer recounted her travels and adventures in the Canadian Rockies during the summers of 1907 and 1908. One of the illustrations in the book was a photograph of Tom Wilson, standing in front of his cabin. It was taken by Mrs. Schaffer in 1907. I went and dug out my own photograph of 1972 and compared the two. Not only was there no doubt that both pictures showed the same building, with the same window opening and the same individual logs right down to the knots, but it was the same door in both photos and it was swinging on the same hinges in 1972 as it was in 1907.

I am sure that in no other spot in Alberta could a log building have endured untenanted for well over half a century and still boast a door that opened on its original metal hinges. Any place else in this province rain would have washed away the dirt roof and rotted the logs, or the roof would have collapsed under heavy snow, or vandals would have torn the door from its frame, or more likely, burned the whole building down. …

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