SMALL TOWNS: Family looks to give away Scarboro Creek log cabin

The structure is more than 180 years old
Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 6:30 PM CDT
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SCARBORO CREEK, Wis. (WBAY) - A log cabin in Kewaunee County, more than 180 years old, needs a new home. The family that’s owned it for nearly 100 years, wants to give it away for free.

This week in Small Towns, we travel to Scarboro Creek to check out this old cabin.

If only the old logs could talk, then there would be a lot more to learn about who put them in place and eventually covered them up.

Built in 1837, little is known about the original owner, or others who may have followed, until Wencil and Francis Ciha arrived on the property in 1931.

“They came to the United States in 1920, but they lived in Denmark for 10 years. My grandpa worked at Dufek Manufacturing, and then they moved here because his health wasn’t the best and the doctor said move out to the country,” explains Dick Ciha, who lives just a few miles down the road.

As a child, Dick spent a lot of time with his grandparents, marveling today at their very rustic lifestyle while raising three children.

“No electricity until the 1970′s, so it was an outhouse, and you had your pump shed for water. As far as food, everything was either canned or there was a lot of chickens, my grandma made a lot of chicken,” recalls Dick with a laugh.

After his grandma passed away in 1985, Dick’s aunt took over the property.

And it wasn’t until then that anyone in the family knew of the home’s true charm.

“As a kid growing up it was wood siding, and then my cousin and his dad took the siding off in the 1980s, so yes, I never knew it was a log house until then,” remembers Dick.

“My father spent my entire life fixing this house. My earliest memory is we used to have a hand pump, and my sister and I would pump buckets and buckets and buckets of water so that my grandpa and my dad could mix the chinking to fill in all the chinking on the outside of the house,” explains Kris Herman, who now owns the cabin with her sister.

As years have passed and generations to the family have added on, gatherings at the old cabin have become extremely cramped.

“There’s 10 of us, and there’s three bedrooms upstairs, so my family of 5 all sleep in one bedroom, my sister has 2 teenage boys so they have a little room off to the side, and then my sister and brother-in-law have a room, and then my mom loves to come up here too, so she sleeps in the living room on a recliner because there’s just no room for her and she’s mobility challenged so she cannot go upstairs,” says Kris.

To make accommodations for her mom and the growing family, Kris and her sister plan to build a new home on the property.

But first, they have a dream for this nearly two-century-old log cabin, that someone or maybe some historical organization would want it.

“We’d hate to just see it fall to disrepair or bulldozed, so yeah, we just hope that someone could find a use for it, could find a place for it,” says Kris.

“That would be the best. That would be the best that other people can see it, especially since it’s still here yet and the shape it is in, it’s fairly good shape,” adds Dick.

And if you’re wondering about the price, it’s not even a penny.

“It’s completely free. We’re happy to help have you take it away. And we’re patient to a point because it would be a shame to wait too long and that my mom would not get to enjoy the time here.”

While the cabin may have a year or two left at its current location, its days are numbered.

Anyone interested in acquiring it can contact

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