1870 Rufus Smith Log House

This dogtrot style log house was built about 1870 by Rufus Smith and his wife Cecilia. Five miles outside of what today is Coolidge in the northeast corner of Thomas County, the three-room house sat on a 504 acre farm and housed Rufus, Cecilia, and at various times their five children. While Rufus and his wife slept in the bedroom, the children would make bedding for themselves on the floor.

The Smiths did not own slaves. They were a yeoman farm family, placing them in the middle class of the pre-industrial agrarian South. Indications of the Smith’s middle-class status include glass windows, a ceiling below the roof, the piedmont above the bedroom entrance, and the raised wood floor above the ground.

The architecture of the house is designed for a warm-weather environment. Dogtrot-style architecture is typified by two quarters connected by a breezeway that maximizes breezes while limiting warming sunlight. The Smith log house is also built with cracks between wall planks, to allow even more cooling breezes to enter the structure while limiting heat. During cold spells, additional wood planks, mud, and clay could be used to seal the structure to retain heat.