One local man’s labor of love can be found around the United States. Petersheim Log Cabins are made by hand 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 living on the edge of Marion County near LaRue.
He moved to Marion County 15 years ago from Mt. Victory when he met and married his wife, Lydia, who grew up here. They have six children. The oldest, 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 began by making wishing wells, playhouses, picnic tables, and swings. Eventually, he added cabins, small A-frames, and even tiny homes.
“Everything folds in so it can be transported,” Henry said. “One customer used two ferries to get her cabin to an island in Wisconsin.”
Henry has created wider, two-story homes that are split down the middle for transportation and re-assembled at the final location. He uses rollers to load the custom homes onto trucks.
The building is an Amish tradition. “All of our forefathers have been builders. We have been building ever since we were small,” Henry said.
Pine arrives from Virginia. Another Amish man mills them. They use the tongue and groove method to build the structures. His first cabin was delivered to a campground in Bellefontaine. As the orders increased, his skills have grown.
“From tiny homes to she-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 doing something different. It’s all custom,” Henry said.
Henry has two steady workers. They do not use electricity, though 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 everyone happy,” Henry said.
Walking through his cabin and tiny home on a recent tour, neighbors and local engineering students from Marion Technical College admired the hand-carved woodwork with draw knife touches on the windowsills. The smell of freshly cut wood entices the residents as they walked into his barns. A gas-powered drill hangs from the ceiling to drop in 10” screws into the logs.
While some tools have been converted from electric to gas, others are more than 100 years old, such as the hit-and-miss John Deere engine used to make ice cream.
A horse-sized treadmill is in one barn. The horsepower of this device sprays the stain onto the outside of the home.
“It’s a one-horse power engine!” a visitor joked.
Wyatt Kerr of LaRue tried his hand at turning the flywheel on the engine. A hand-cranked forklift also helps complete the construction.
Some clients prefer the look of wood logs, though others order board and batten siding.
“A lot of people like the old farmhouse look without the maintenance,” Henry said.
After a tour, Lydia treated the guests to freshly made donuts with cream filling and homemade ice cream. 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.