Fun Drive
The Log Cabin Tour 2002

by Bill Weaver

If it’s the first weekend in June then it must be time for Brown County’s Tour of Log Cabins and Country Homes. This is the 29th year for the event, which is sponsored by Psi Iota Xi. As a special treat there will be live entertainment at the fourth stop where visitors will also be able to purchase homemade pie and drinks.

Visitors are encouraged to call on the houses in the order they’re presented on the map and, because of restricted parking, two of the houses will have a continuous shuttle from special parking areas to the homes. All told, the journey is about 16 miles.

The event is the main fundraiser for the Brown County Eta Alpha Chapter of Psi Iota Xi. The sorority, a national philanthropic organization was established locally on May 1, 1966, with about 40 active members. Psi Iota Xi uses its funds to support many worthwhile causes in Brown County including: the Hoosier Salon; the Brown County Art Gallery; the Brown County Art Guild; Indiana Heritage Arts; education awards; grants for public and school libraries; establishing a speech and hearing program for the county school system; girls’ state music and drama clinics; band uniforms and band camp; kids studying abroad; and journalism workshops. The sorority gives substantial scholarships every year. Their gifts range from support for the Volunteer Fire Department to the grand piano they purchased for the high school auditorium.

Also, their fundraisers can best be described as fun raisers, whether it be the yearly cabin tour, the auction, ice cream socials, bake sales, Santa House, or the other events they provide throughout the year.

The Log Cabin and Country Homes Tour visits a different selection of houses every year so if you’ve enjoyed past tours you’ve got every reason to enjoy another. Sorority members will be present at each house, identifiable by their matching appliqué denim vests, and will serve as hostesses, tours guides, and historians for each house you visit. Be sure to ask them about the interesting things you’ll see.

The first stop is the home of Gary and Norma Eberhart, a good example of modern cabin construction. Nearly all of the wood and stone material in the house was harvested within thirty miles. Poplar is used throughout the home (except for the hickory kitchen cabinets) and a large porch wraps around the cabin to enhance the enjoyment of living in the wooded acreage. The downstairs includes a prized collection of family memorabilia including pictures of parents and grandparents, and a treasured grandmother’s quilt. Ask your guide to tell you about the Lisa Fittipaldi painting over the fireplace.

Cabin two, also of recent construction, is a custom built home, recently bought by Steve and Cheryl Kolhouse. Beautifully built, the home features an oak floor, a Brown County Stone fireplace, rough-cut cedar walls, cathedral ceiling in the master suite, and a generous screened porch. Outdoors you’ll find a large deck, children’s playhouse, meandering brook, and fishing pond.

Woodpecker Ridge is site three of the tour, featuring three cabins on 16 acres of woodland. The homes are owned by Dennis Watson and were built 35 year ago of round yellow pine logs. The large cabin, known as The Lodge, includes six bedrooms, Kyle Ragsdale murals, and a large collection of items Mr. Watson has traded for over the years, including the unique door handles you’ll find as you move from room to room. Please note the stained glass window in the Downy Cabin and you are invited to bring your “fishin’ pole” while you inspect the pond down by Bull Frog Cabin. Ask your guide about Stacy’s Garden.

Homemade pie and live music aren’t the only reasons you should visit Bill and Jenny Austin’s cottage. Built in 1938 by Jenny’s grandfather, the small one bedroom house and accompanying barn offer a sweet country hideaway. Much of the furniture was acquired during antique tours in Indiana and Kentucky.

The Grandma Barnes Cabin was built in 1949 and added to several times, especially after an electrical fire destroyed the kitchen in 1991. When Bill and Pat Lloyd bought the property in 1995 they eschewed traditional Brown County facilities by adding indoor plumbing. They also built an addition to their home using a nineteenth century log cabin acquired in Deputy, Indiana. Antiques and collectibles decorate the rooms and if your kids have never seen an outhouse, there’s one out back.

The Brown County Tour of Log Cabins and Country Homes is the perfect way to spend a spring day and have a look at some of the more interesting and historical homes in Brown County. Taking place from 10 AM to 4 PM Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2, rain or shine, tickets are 10 dollars for adults and 5 dollars for children under 12. Tickets and maps will be available on the days of the tour at the side porch of the Artists Colony Inn, which is located at the corner of Franklin and Van Buren streets in downtown Nashville. Advance tickets can be purchased through the Visitors Center (800-988-1070) and at the Brown County Chamber of Commerce (812-988-6647) or by writing to Psi Iota Xi, Log Cabin Tour, PO Box 39, Nashville, IN 47448.