Lawrence County Historical Society Quarterly
Winter 1991, Vol. 14 Number 1
Ficklin/Imboden House
Below is a description of the Ficklin/Imboden House at Powhatan, when it
was nominated in 1988, for the National Register of Historic Places.
The Ficklin/Imboden house is a simple log house constructed in the Midland
building tradition. It stands on the property owned originally by one of 
Powhatan's earliest citizens, Andrew H. Imboden, and his spouse,
Lusinda E. Ficklin. It is composed of two single-pen buildings in an
L-shape, typical of the buildings of the earliest settlers in Lawrence
County. The Ficklin/Imboden House stands on the east half of Lots 5 and 6
of Block 4 in the town of Powhatan.
The Ficklin/Imboden House in Powhatan is a single-pen house with a one and
one-half story (sleeping loft) plan. A later addition to the house, a one-
story, single-pen L-room, was constructed at the rear of the main house
and is thought to have been used as a detached kitchen. The house and the
kitchen are constructed of cypress logs hewn square and joined by half
dovetailed notches at the corners.  Broad-axe markings are obvious on
all log surfaces of the building, interior and exterior, and logs are
chinked with limestone and mortar.
The foundations of both rooms are fieldstone, with massive cypress
foundation logs spanning the piers. The gable roof of the main house was
originally wood shingle and is deteriorating, although the roof has been
replaced within the past 50 years.
The front facade of the house was embellished with a dropped shedroof
porch possibly as early as the 1920's (from photographic evidence),  but
this addition has not significantly altered the building's original
character.  In fact, the dropped shed porch is quite in character with
Tidewater South houses, which contributed stylistically to the Midland
tradition. Windows on the front (south) facade were also later additions,
having a four-over-four pane arrangement, double-hung symmetrically on
either side of the front door.   The east elevation of the main room has
no apertures.  One photograph from the 1960's suggests a small window once
existcd in the sleeping loft; however, 1973 photographic evidence does not
reveal this aperture and, in fact, clearly shows a vertical roof member
which extends from the ridge of the gable to the first horizontal wall
The north elevation has one doorway, leading to the detached kitchen and
is devoid of other apertures.  The house was sheathed with cypress siding
on thc west elevation, around the exterior-end chimney, which in
combination with certain interior features could mean a later construction
date, unless the siding was simply an improvement to the original stacked-
log wall. The exterior-end chimney has deteriorated but many of the
fieldstones still hold the original form of the fireplace. It is feared
that the stone chimney, weakened by neglect, will fall into the building,
potentially demolishing the structure.   The interior of the house reveals
a ptimitive wooden firelace mantle. It has miter joint corners and is
fashioned from wood, stained Black. The enclosed stair in the northwest
corner of the main room, which leads to the sleeping loft, is very narrow
and unstable.  Some of the stairs, which rise as steeply as eight inches
and are only six inches wide, have fallen in. Undoubtedly a crude wooden
ladder once led to the sleeping loft, since a corner stair of this
description is typically an indication of improvement.
The sleeping loft reveals the roof, which was replaced sometime during the
past 50 years. The floor and walls of the loft reveal the massive (some
18") stacked cypress timbers, but most of the chinking has fallen out.
Though the original plan of the log house was single-pen, it was later
improved, as many early log houses were, to include a roof over the
original open space between the main house and the kitchen, creating a
house type often mistaken as a "dogtrot."   This gabled connecting roof
was extant until the 1960's, and screen ing was used to enclose the space
between the house and the kitchen (from photographic evidence). However, a
later photograph proves that this area was not covered or enclosed in
The floor between the main house and the ell-room has completely
deteriorated. The cypress logs that spanned the piers have rotted and the
kitchen's physical integrity is injepardy. The detached kitchen has one
window on the east elevation and a door on the south elevation.