Little is known about the first ten years after Horace and Jane Baker arrived in the 1846 Barlow Trail wagon train, and the construction of this cabin. Perhaps, like most pioneers they lived out of their wagon or tents the first winter. Most then built temporary dwellings while they developed their lands and businesses until able to construct permanent housing. The cabin was constructed in 1856, and is unusual in many resects. The resulting size of the cabin itself may have been dictated by the size of the available timbers.
In the early 1850s, during the height of the gold rush, a California company reneged on a special order for hand-hewn timbers. Horace purchased the 12-inch square logs, hand-hewn on all four sides, and in 1856 built the 20' x 30' house that is known as Baker Cabin. The walls are stacked nine logs high. With the exception of the top and bottom logs, which are mortised at the corners (i.e., fastened together by placing a cutout hole in the top log, over a peg in the log beneath it), the logs between are lapped together without mortising, using no pegs or nails to fasten them together. A salvaged example can be seen in the inside display case.
The cantilever porch design is unique west of the Mississippi, and very useful in this wet climate. The expanded attic space was useful as a sleeping loft, for storage,
for guests, and for hired hands. The use of an outdoor staircase is somewhat unusual, and may have made easier the moving of materials to the upstairs. Horace was a pump maker, and it is quite possible that he kept a small workshop upstairs.
The downstairs living area was divided into two bedrooms and a living/kitchen area. Traces of the location of the partitions can still be seen on the logs. Also, on the logs are remnants of newspaper that was underneath the wallpaper. The newsprint dates from 1850 to 1860.
The cabin was occupied for approximately 50 years, until being abandoned in 1901. In October 1937 descendants and neighbors organized The Old Timers' Association of Carver, Oregon. They bought 1-1/2 acres with the cabin from John and Mary Hattan for $200, and undertook restoration of the unique cabin for posterity. Several logs had dry rot and the chimney was partially collapsed. The building was completely dismantled, with the logs of each wall laid out in the order they were remove and marked with Roman numerals. New logs were hewn to replace the bad ones, and the others were easily replace in proper order by the numerals - which are evident today. After restoration, a dedication ceremony officials named the building the Baker Cabin. Years of weathering and vandalism required additional repairs to be completed in 1986 using authentic tools and techniques.
The cabin was extended twice adding kitchen and living space. Both expansions are said to have burned and have not been replicated The stone used in the construction of the fireplace, hearth and outside chimney came from this property.