Fayette home tour #3: Cooley house

Written by David Green.

tour.cooleyCurt and Nancy Cooley's farm at the corner of County Road R and County Road 23 is a long way from northern Michigan where the family spent many a summer vacation in the past, but the memories remain.

Curt recalls that one week a year as a child, his family made the long excursion north and that tradition continued after he and Nancy were married.

Four years ago they decided to recreate a bit of the past right in their own yard southeast of Fayette. In October 2008, they ordered a cabin in the woods—minus the woods.

It was once an all-day venture to go north, but not anymore. 

“Now I can walk a few feet and get a similar experience,” he said. “It’s really relaxing. You can feel all the stress of the day go away.”

The 20- by 30-foot cabin was constructed  just north of their home by an Amish crew. Creekside Sawmill of Topeka, Ind., furnished the nine-inch logs for the walls of the structure and the cabin was assembled by an Amish man, his three sons and two grandsons. There's tongue-and-groove flooring on the ground level and also on the floor of the 200 square foot loft.

For outside enjoyment away from insects, the Cooleys added a 10- by 16-foot gazebo with a double roof covered with cedar shakes. A sidewalk of paver bricks connects the gazebo with the cabin.

The cabin is decorated in a northern cabin style and includes a Jenny Lind bed and a vintage washtub with wringer on a wooden folding stand.

For the home tour, the antlers are decorated with lights, small bears climb the beams and a seasonal evergreen tree brightens the scene.

The cabin took just four days to build, but another 40 days to stain. A former student of Curt’s—he taught science in Wauseon for four decades—and her fiancé did the work, along with staining the fence.

That long, long fence is something Nancy really appreciates. In addition to cutting off the corner cutters who used to drive through the yard, it simply defines the lawn from the landscape beyond.

“That fence is the best thing,” she said. “It serves a purpose that we never thought about.”

She sees her grandkids playing out in the yard more often now that the boundary is in place.

The cabin serves as a popular spot for many family activities ranging from family Christmases to grandchildren’s ball team gatherings.

“It’s been the center of a lot of activities,” Curt said, but when people ask why they built it, he has a pat answer.

“When my wife and I feud, I tell her I’m going up north. Thirty steps and I’m there.”

They’ve kept it somewhat rustic—for example, there’s no plumbing—but don’t get any ideas about using the little outhouse tucked in among the trees. 

That’s just another reminder of the north country, Curt said, and the door is nailed shut.

• For parking during the tour, look for the long driveway near the cabin off County Road R. Park off to the side of the drive to allow other traffic to pass through.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017