The lighter side of real estate

Happy Birthday Abe! Here’s a House Made of Everything Lincoln

With Lincoln’s birthday approaching, we honored the man in the top hat by building his home out of fun Lincoln regalia--pennies, $5 bills, and Lincoln Logs.

Kristin Crosier


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The movies may portray Abraham Lincoln as a poster boy for freedom and an ax-wielding vampire hunter, but we know him better as the tall top-hat-wearing guy and the face on our monies.

In summary, these depictions mean that Honest Abe was a badass with a sharp blade and a penchant for caring about his country.

With Lincoln’s Feb. 12th birthday fast approaching, we thought the best way to honor the iconic man’s existence was to build the log cabin where he was born out of Lincoln regalia. (We know it’s a little odd, but we are novelty real estate bloggers, after all.)

Naturally, our building materials included pennies, five-dollar bills, and Lincoln Logs (sorry, no bacon or LEGOs this time).

Turns out it would take 1,932,744 pennies to build the one-room log cabin where the 16th president began his epic life. You could also substitute 2,616,113 five-dollar bills for construction, or 86,760 Lincoln Logs.

But boy, did we have to log a lot of time to get there (har, har).

A One-Room Cabin, Undivided

Before we could dote on our past love of Lincoln Logs, we had to dig up a few bits of information, which turned into hours of prowling websites for random numbers and data. The size of the log cabin, for starters.

After scouting the web to find more about Lincoln’s exceptionally miniature birthplace, we learned the property was:

  • A one-room log cabin
  • 16 feet by 18 feet

This left us pondering the height and roof of a 19th-century log cabin. To tell you the truth, the Movoto bloggers aren’t very familiar with older dwellings. Really, the only homes we ever see can be summed up in San Francisco’s awkward blend of Victorian and contemporary designs.

Which gave us one option–to the Internet! We discovered that such a box, er house, would likely have a seven-foot ceiling. Now if we could just understand the workings of a cabin roof.

According to the Internet, a single-story log cabin from that time would have a roof with a pitch of 6/12–whatever that means.

Some dedicated digging turned up this calculator, which told us that a 6/12 roof pitch is equal to 26.57 degrees. Barring a few failed attempts at some basic trigonometry, we had all of the cabin’s dimensions.

It was time to start our toy cranes’ engines. First up: finally finding a purpose for those pesky one-cent coins clogging our piggy banks.

House of Pennies

To construct Lincoln’s cabin out of pennies, we began by taking out our fave paper ruler and going to town on the copper-tinged coin. Our results: your run-of-the-mill penny is about ¾ of an inch in diameter and .05 inches thick.

Then we just had to figure out how to make the miniscule disk into a building block.

It seemed easiest to stack the pennies in side-by-side columns. (We recommend using glue–Mr. Lincoln wouldn’t want all that hard work to go to waste, even if it means ruining his face.)

Playing with our pocket change (for work, of course) gave us these results:

  • A seven-foot column requires 1,680 pennies
  • Our cabin would need 1,088 stacks
  • It would take 104,903 pennies to cover the roof (we weren’t sure how effective stacked pennies would be above our heads)

Adding up all our coins brought us to 1,932,744 pennies. With a price tag of $19,327.44.

If you’re near the border and frequently shop Canadian, it’s not as if you have another purpose for your pennies anyway. In fact, we bet your neighbors would be happy to unload the chump change.

Getting your hands on enough five-dollar bills though? That’s a different story.

It’s Raining Abes in Here

If you prefer to build with money you can first roll around in, why not try the other form of currency featuring Honest Abe’s face?

Five-dollar bills are a slightly less efficient way to commemorate Lincoln’s birthplace–think of the imminent soggy mess at the first sight of rain–but still worth trying if you can afford to tie up all that dough.

Water problems aside, a house of bills also sounds more exciting than a bunch of pennies–and makes you richer. Even if that bunch of pennies runs nearly two million.

So how many bills would we need to stash away?

With our handy ruler telling us a five-dollar bill is 6.1 inches long and 0.0043 inches thick, we calculated our cabin would take 2,616,113 bills stacked end to end. (Once again, we covered rather than stacked for the roof.)

It’ll cost you though–$13,080,565 for all those portraits of Honest Abe.

That’s probably nothing compared to how much you’ll spend on Lincoln Log sets for the same purpose.

The World’s Largest Lincoln Logs Cabin

After blowing the dust off the beloved wooden logs of our childhood, we dug in.

First, there was the issue of which Lincoln Logs to use, and how to go about building an actual house. Those dinky cabin sets aren’t much for structural integrity, you know.

We figured the most efficient use of the model-size wood pegs was to make columns–like our own sturdy walls of…hollow beams. A preference for the four-and-a-half-inch double-notch logs meant the body of our cabin would require 80,875 Lincoln Logs.

As for the roof, we chose to pretend a real rooftop of Lincoln Log roof slats would somehow support itself (maybe with the help of magical fairies?)

We haven’t quite ironed out all the details. But, assuming the length of a roof slat equals the size of the longest Lincoln Log, we figured out we’d need 5,885 roof pieces.

This brought the necessary number of Lincoln Logs to 86,760 pieces.

That’s a lot of child-size wood parts to build a home, even a one-room cabin. Quite ineffective, really.

So how much would our life-size Lincoln Log cabin cost? To figure this out, we first had to choose a set and find out how many correctly sized logs it contains.

We chose to base our estimation on the K’nex Collector’s Edition Case, but you’re free to pick whatever set your heart desires. This particular set contains 111 logs, and we guesstimated that 1/3 would be the right size.

That would give us 37 usable logs from each $100 set, meaning we’d need 2,186 of them to build the cabin. No problem-o if you’ve got $218,600 to spare.

But think of it this way: At least you wouldn’t need to chop the wood yourself. Unless you happen to have a miniature axe lying around–and a strong desire to mime a wood-chopping Abe Lincoln.

The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

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posted on: February 6, 2013
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