The Deuel Log Home, on the plaza between the Church History Museum and the Family History Library, is the finest remaining example of the type of housing built by the pioneers during their first year in the Salt Lake Valley. As such, it stands as a testament to those pioneers' commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as to their industry, courage, and determination in settling a new land and making living conditions as pleasant as possible.
In size, method of construction, interior layout, and furnishings, the Deuel Log Home is probably representative of many other cabins built in the early years in the Salt Lake Valley and other settlements throughout the Great Basin.
The Deuel Log Home was constructed in 1847 in the north extension of a pioneer fort, part of a massive building project to provide shelter for the approximately 1,600 people who spent the winter of 1847-48 in the Salt Lake Valley. Immediately after Brigham Young’s company arrived in the valley in July 1847, there were several important and urgent tasks at hand. One of these tasks was to provide protection for the settlers from possible attack by American Indians. A second urgent need was to provide shelter for themselves and those on the trail who would arrive within a few weeks. Both requirements were met by constructing the fort, with housing built within its walls.
Osmyn Deuel and his brother, William, purchased three of the log homes built in the north extension of the fort. According to a report (similar to a census) taken in February 1848, Osmyn owned two log houses and William owned one. Osmyn's second house was probably used as a blacksmith shop. Osmyn paid approximately $60 for his log home. The family probably moved into the home in October after adding finishing touches such as flooring, glass windows, and an ironcast stove. After moving in, they may have made other improvements to make the interior more homey, such as adding curtains and rugs.
Much of the material of the original structure survives in the present building. The logs in the walls and the roof poles are from the 1847 construction. The first layer of roof boards or sheathing were likely also placed in 1847. The log walls are red pine, a native variety of Douglas fir that were cut in the canyons east of Salt Lake City. The roof poles are lodge-pole pines, trees that grow straight and tall, with a slight taper from bottom to top that makes roof construction an easier task. The boards covering the roof poles are also red pine and can be seen from inside the cabin. On the outside, they are covered with dirt. The floor and shelving boards, the door, and window frames are also red pine, but are not original to the home; they were placed there during restoration work in 1984 and 1985.
Two families, both Deuels, shared the cabin.