Visit to Alfie Williams Log Home

Linda and I take a drive up to Alfie Williams old house from time to time. The road is getting a bit rough, but the house is still in remarkably good shape. And, Linda tells me it is on the National Historic Register.

Alfie Williams house from the road

We parked in front of the house and were glad to see that it has not suffered too much from neglect. Neighbors keep an eye on traffic up the driveway and hopefully discourage vandals.

Williams Woods sign

This is the sign that the Ozark Highlands Trail Association put up near Alfie’s house. It is adorned with a few pieces of old automobiles at its base.

We walked up for a closer look. Both Linda and I knew Alfie when she lived here many years ago, and a visit brings a keen sense of nostalgia.

A closer look at Alfie’s house

Alfie’s brother Mack built this home during the 1930’s. When Alfie realized she had terminal cancer, late in life, she left the property to the Ozark Highlands Trail Association. They have had it put on the historic record, and protected the property with a conservation easement. You can read about it on their website here Highlands Trail Org – Williams Woods . The property is now for sale.

Highlands Trail members cleared the 3 mile loop trail in 2017 after being closed since 2009 as a result of an ice storm that caused many trees to topple. Compulsive Hiker Michael R. tells about clearing the trails in his blog .

Alfie Williams front porch

The house is nestled in the trees and it is cool and inviting as you approach. When we went to the front door, it was locked and the side door to the kitchen was off the hinges. We took a look in side, being careful not to disturb anything. No one has lived here for a number of years. At one time, after Alfie passed away, there was a care taker.

A look inside…

Alfie’s kitchen

Alfie loved her home and the woods around it. Now there are still a few traces of her life here. Hopefully someone who appreciates this gem will buy it and restore it while it is still sound.

Gas heat stove in Alfie’s kitchen

Here is a closer look at the propane heater in Alfie’s kitchen. I can imagine it was quite a luxury when it was first installed to supplement the wood heat.

Indoor well in Alfie’s kitchen

With no electricity here in the early days, this indoor well would have been cherished. It is only steps from where the cook stove and sink would have been.

Well in Alfie’s kitchen

The well curb and top are cast concrete. Aflie had running water added later on, but I know other folks who always preferred their dug well for drinking and making coffee or tea. The water in this part of the Boston Mountains can vary considerably in taste from one spring or well to another.

Alfie Williams library

Alfie collected a number of books that are still on the shelves in the living room. We did not take time to inspect the titles and now that we are gone, I am curious about her reading preferences. A reading list can make a good reflection of someones personality.

A sunny back room still has Alfie’s treadle sewing machine. Its easy to imagine her here making clothes and doing mending over the years. She lived by herself here after she retired.

Alfie Williams sewing room

The treadle sewing machine in this photo sits near a window. The Ozark Electric Co-op did not bring service to the Saint Paul area until the 1950’s, so good natural lighting would have been a necessity for needle work.

A walk around the house…

The back side of Alfie Williams home

We took  a walk around the house before leaving and noted that all the logs are in unusually good condition. Often, the corners of old log buildings suffer from continued exposure to the weather.

Kitchen windows in Alfie’s house

The windows and trim still look pretty fair, but could use a coat of paint. Mack did a beautiful job hewing the logs and cutting dovetails for the corner joints. The chinking between the logs looks to be tight still, indicating that the logs were well seasoned before the chinking was placed.

Parting shots…


Amanita mushrooms

On the way back down the hill we found several amanita mushrooms in the process of popping up. There is probably a technical way to describe that, but that is what it looks like.

Amantia mushroom emerging
Amantia mushroom

After this stop to check out the mushrooms we called it a day and headed for home.

Rock House hike

Linda and I started Thanksgiving Day off by welcoming all the hungry birds in the neighborhood to breakfast. Linda put out suet blocks and there was a line forming.

Red bellied woodpecker
Cedar waxwing

After all the birds were taken care of we bundled up and took a hike up to the Rock House near Cherry Bend in the Ozark Saint Francis National Forest nearby.

Rock House at Cherry Bend

The Rock House is just off the Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail where it crosses Highway 23 (the Pig Trail). According to Robert Jones of nearby Fain Creek, the house was built in the early 1900’s by his grandfather. You can find his account here at the Ozark Mountain Hiker.

We took a look around inside. It has not changed too much over the years, but one of the door lentils looks like it is about ready to fall. The walls have all settled a few inches below the overhanging rock. And the spring box in the corner was almost dry.

Now that the leaves are all off the trees you can see out across the hollow for some distance.

View from Rock House

On the way back to our car, we met some other hikers and talked a bit, then headed back to the homestead for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner

Linda had been cooking fresh bread, a split green bean casserole, pasta with a white sauce, and her delicious home made cranberry sauce. She made the sauce with fresh cranberries and her home made applesauce. It was all ready to serve, waiting for the salmon to come off the grill.

We have ever so much to be thankful for!