The Bradbury Log Home

The Bradbury Log Home

The Sunday Forum
November 4, 1973

By DORIS EASTMAN Women’s Editor

Annie Bradbury Pederson lives in the log house that she was born in 89 years ago. Nestled between “the lake in the front of the house”(Bradbury Lake) and “the lake in back of the barn,” (Leek Lake) near Vergas, Minn., the house has changed little since the days when Mrs. Pederson and her six brothers and sisters were growing up there.

Mrs. Pederson hasn’t spent all of those 89 years in the house. After her marriage to Meyer Pederson in 1906, there were years of living in North Dakota and Minnesota and McAllen, Tex. 

Bill, the oldest of the sons and daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Bradbury, was the only one to remain on the farm. He lived there alone after George, Dwight, Annie, Louise, Harry and Alice married and left home.

When Meyer and Annie Pederson and their sons, Harry and LaVerne, moved to McAllen, “I fell in love with the Rio Grande Valley, ” And she spent 30 happy years there.

But after her husband’s death in 1950 and her brother Bill’s death in 1953, the thought of coming back to Minnesota grew strong.

“I got tired of the constant heat, the way there was no change in the seasons. I started missing the snow.”
I just couldn’t bear to have the old place fall apart.”

So in 1956, she moved back into the house where “for me, everything has a story.”

There were some changes she had to have made in the house to make it more livable, but she kept the changes to a minimum. One of the first things necessary was to have a portion of the front wall pushed back into place and new chinking put between the logs. Another was to have electricity put in.

The original house consisted of a large first floor room used as a living room, dining room and kitchen; one small bedroom, and a roomy pantry. Upstairs was one large room where most of the children slept.

In the back were a log woodshed and barn.

As she recalls her father telling of the construction of the house, it was in 1878 that “a group of five or six families needed homes, so they grouped together and helped each other build. Father said each man had a corner to be responsible for, to make the notches in the logs match.” One corner of the house is an especially clear example of how well the logs were fitted together and “many people have taken pictures of that corner through the years. ”

In 1892 a kitchen was added to the back and sometime, Mrs. Pederson doesn’t remember ‘exactly, a window was put into the pantry.

Until she moved back, those were about the only changes made.

A mantel shelf is on the same wall it has always been. “I remember how we used to hang our Christmas stockings there.  We never put the nails in the same place so the front was full of holes. About a week before Christmas we used to start looking for the longest and largest stockings, even though we knew that there would only be some fruit and small gifts with wads of paper in between.”

When she was having things fixed up one of the workmen said he had a strip of wood that would match the front of the mantel and cover up all the nail holes. She thought it was a good idea at the time, “But now I don’t know, maybe I should have left it the way it was…”

Among other pieces she treasures are a mirror that belonged to her grandmother. “Father’s mother and father came from Maine to stay with us because grandfather had asthma so bad.  He had but one small attack after he came here.”

Her mother’s cherry wood chest, “She had it when she was a girl,” is another prized piece. “Our rocking chair used to travel and it ended up hitting the chest, so there were a, lot of little dents in the bottom drawer.”

The major change she made in the house was in the kitchen addition. It was one large room and she had it divided into a bedroom, a bathroom large enough for her washer and the kitchen area.

While some of the house has modern paneling, Mrs. Pederson liked the looks of the weathered logs on the inside wall (the back wall of the original’ house) so she left those exposed.  The living room was heated only by a cook stove in the early days and “I just can’t figure out how we kept warm”.

Now, she has a large wood-burning stove in the front room and an oil burning stove in the kitchen, in addition to the wood-burning range on which she does much of her cooking and turns out those loaves of homemade bread. 

She doesn’t make much use of the upstairs room in the winter, mostly, it’s for storage and in the summer for visiting grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She had a chipboard wall paneling put between the studdings and had a closet built, but those are the only changes since the Bradbury children used to wake up shivering “with the sheets sometimes frozen under our chins.”

The slender poles used to brace the attic walls are still in place and brought memories of the times the children tied a rope between two of the poles and used it as a swing.

“Sometimes we made a lot of noise and Father would look up from reading and say”

“what  are you up to now?”