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.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

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