Text and Photos By Frances Borsodi Zajac
For the Observer-Reporter
The appearance of a log house on Brownsville’s High Street this summer started people talking.
The two-story structure had been there since the early 19th century but became hidden when covered with siding.
“We went inside and could clearly see the logs – that it was an old log home,” said Laura Williams, who purchased the property with her fiancé, Steve Meyers, this spring. The couple had previously purchased the stone house next door and then acquired this second property.
“Our plan was to tear it down next year, but when we walked in and saw the logs, we thought they were going to rot,” said Laura.
The couple couldn’t use the log house but wanted to save it if possible.
“We prayed about it,’ said Laura, who noted the couple appreciates history and hoped the house or its materials could be used elsewhere.
They were having trouble finding someone who might help when Donna Stickovich, of Deemston, left a business card with a note on it.
The card was for the company Donna owns with her son, Jerrod Stickovich, called Fitly Joined and Built-In Inc. A reference to a biblical verse (Ephesians 2:21) that inspired the company name caught Laura’s attention. She called.
Fitly Joined is a historic restoration business that offers period log and stonework and historic building materials. Examples of their work are on the company’s Facebook page.
“We move log houses and rebuild them,” said Jerrod, of Carmichaels. “We sell period architecture: fireplaces, mantles, cupboards – interesting pieces from between 1790 to 1860.”
Donna and Jerrod found their way into the business when looking for a front door.
“We bought an 1830 brick house in Millsboro, and it had a modern door,” explained Donna, who noted, “We added a log house from near Beth-Center High School onto the brick house, and then the phone started ringing. We never set out to have a business, but the phone kept ringing.”
Donna started Fitly Joined 32 years ago with partner Roland Cadle. Jerrod began working for the company as a teenager. Donna said when Cadle moved, Jerrod became her partner.
“We’ve worked all over the country,” said Donna. “We sent one house to northern California on a train. For a long time, we worked out of state: Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina. Then calls started coming for local work.”
Donna said of log houses, “You can’t always find them, but they’re around. Some are covered up. Some are torn down, but they’re around.”
Laura and Steve struck a deal with the Stickoviches. The company would remove the log house at no charge. In return, the Stickoviches could keep the home, which they plan to sell.
Jerrod believes the four-room house was built in the 1820s, maybe earlier. It’s made of red oak and white oak logs held together with material that included plaster, stones and a few corncobs.
Items found in the home included a glass marble, an old, six-inch nail and a hand-forged spike.
“I think they’re doing a fine job,” said Laura. “They have a passion for historical buildings.”
“I like saving history,” said Jerrod. “As you uncover the house, you learn more about it.”
Donna said, “You always discover something new – mistakes or another way of doing something maybe better than the last guy.”
Joe Bogumit, of Fredericktown, who works with Jerrod, said, “It’s like a time capsule. I like seeing how they built homes compared to now. You have a lot of respect for them.”