By Kevin Donaldson
The foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are a long way from Wyoming, but those words helped set in motion the actual location for an Honest Abe log home, allowing Jack and Pam Hollifield to continue a family legacy.
The Hollifield’s plans for building an Honest Abe home in Wyoming were sidetracked when Pam’s father made that offer of a building spot, and the couple couldn’t refuse. It was about 1,200 miles from where they intended to build, but circumstances dictated the change.
Jack’s first visit to the Honest Abe model in Crossville, Tenn., came in 2003. Retired from the military and TRW, he intended to do missionary work in Wyoming with friends he knew, and had plans to build his dream home there.
“Even after Jack and I were married in 2005, our plans to move to Wyoming remained the same,” Pam said.
Then came the news that prompted the change in location. Not long after they married, Pam’s father, Glenn Owen, became sick, and the couple decided they needed to stay in Tennessee to be close to him and her mother. Jack was flexible about the location of the land, but Pam still works as a nurse at the hospital in Sevierville.
“So we started looking for mountain-view property in the area of Sevierville or Morristown, Tennessee,” said Pam.
Early in 2006, their search for land came to an abrupt halt. Pam’s father took her for a ride over the family farm, which had already been Owen property for two generations.
“I have so many wonderful childhood memories of helping my grandfather tend the farm and taking care of the farm animals when I was a girl,” she said.
Mr. Owen had subdivided it into parcels of land and sold most of the property as a subdivision, but he saved some very special pieces of land. That day as they drove around, he took Pam to the top of a hill.
“I want to show you something,” he said, and showed her a view she really looked at for the first time. It was a view of the Smoky Mountains that just simply took her breath away.
“It’s yours if you want it,” her father said, and he offered her and Jack the land. “I wanted you and Jack to build your log home here,” he told his daughter.
Sold on Honest Abe
“Jack said he wanted the home to be an Honest Abe from the very beginning, even when we thought we were going to move to Wyoming,” Pam said. A chinked-style log home has been a part of the Appalachian region for generations upon generations, and the Hollifields chose to honor that tradition. Honest Abe Log Home’s chinked-style was the original log profile of the company, and the couple had no hesitation in choosing it.
Early in the planning stages of their cabin, Pam came to Crossville to work with the direct sales person there, Sharron Bilbrey. “Pam and I started with the Frontier D standard model, and we came up with a workable, efficient floor plan by combining ideas from other floor plans,” Bilbrey said. Pam said the approximate 1300 square-foot plan “was perfect for us,” and it wound up being built over a full basement.
Jack and Pam also decided an Honest Abe crew would do the dry-in, but they wanted to do the rest of the work themselves.
“Jack proved to be very handy at doing different things, such as all the electric, plumbing, and trim work,” Pam said. “Except for a few stones at the very top, I even stacked the stone for the chimney,” Jack commented.
The couple, along with Jack’s son, completed the finishing stages of the home, except for sheetrock and hardwood flooring. “Most impressive were Jack’s ideas for the trim work around the vents and ducts, above the patio door, and in the smaller spaces of the home which proved to be both creative and functional,” Bilbrey said. “Jack and Pam even stained their home, both inside and out.”
Pam’s father lived long enough to see the foundation in place and the log package delivered, but passed in mid-2007 before the home was finished. Pam’s mother still lives just down the road in the family home, close enough for Jack and Pam to be there for her as needed.
“Jack and Pam have built a truly beautiful, special, and elegantly-simple, log home that her father and grandfather would be proud of, creating a legacy to be a part of the family farm,” Bilbrey said. “It’s a perfect fit for the surroundings, nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, just like it had always been there.”
Photography by Honest Abe Log Homes
Editors Note: Sharron Bilbrey, Sales Representative for Honest Abe Log Homes contributed to the content of this story.