The typical homeowner rakes leaves
and washes windows. Harry and
Doris Rink, owners and caretakers of
the 377-year-old C.A. Nothnagle Log
Cabin in Gibbstown, go well beyond
that. Harry spent two months last
fall rechinking the logs of the historic
cabin’s exterior with clay.
When the Rinks purchased the
one-room cabin and its attached
house from the Nothnagle family in 1968, it was in a shambles.
The Nothnagles and their ancestors, who were dairy farmers, had
owned the place since 1860.
Today, Harry says, the cabin—
located on a busy road on the outskirts
of Gibbstown—is preserved and
restored to a condition its original
owners would recognize. Under the
Rinks’ ownership, the property was
added to the National Register of
Historic Places in 1976—just in time
for the bicentennial.
Harry, 85, and Doris, 71, live in an
adjoining house that was constructed
in stages beginning in the early 1700s.
The Nothnagle Cabin was built
around 1638 by Finnish-Swedish set-
BUCKETS OF CLAY AND PLENTY OF TLC KEEP
SOUTH JERSEY’S NOTHNAGLE CABIN AS SOUND AS
WHEN IT WAS BUILT—A MERE 377 YEARS AGO.
BY SUSAN COUSINS BR;N
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JASON VARNEY
MUDDER OF INVEN TION: Harry Rink, opposite page, lovingly maintains his
377-year-old cabin the old-fashioned way. Above, Rink trowels a special clay to reseal (or in the lingo, rechink) the gaps between the logs that let in wind and wetness.
He uses up to three layers of the clay, which he harvests at a nearby farm.