Lowell Davis is ready to give up his ceremonial title of mayor of Red Oak II and he’s found someone with experience to take his place.

Lowell Davis is ready to give up his ceremonial title of mayor of Red Oak II and he’s found someone with experience to take his place.

Former Carthage Mayor Jim Woestman is building the first-ever newly built home on a part of Red Oak II that Davis jokingly says is “reserved for the undesirables.”

“I guess I live on the other side of the tracks,” Woestman said.

“He wants to come out and be a hillbilly like the rest of us,” Davis added.

Woestman bought a small lot on the south end of Red Oak II and is building a 1,500-square-foot home using old-style mortise and tenon log construction.

It’s the first newly built home in a community Davis built nearly 30 years ago by hauling in and restoring old homes and other buildings, many from his childhood home of Red Oak in eastern Lawrence County.

“The only reason we let him build it out here was because it was being built old,” Davis said. “It’s exciting to see it happening. It’s been a long time since anything new was added out here.”

Woestman said this new house is a chance for him to downsize from the large home he owns in Carthage.

“This is a fun place to be,” Woestman said. “There’s a lot going on out here. You get all the tourists out here and there’s something happening all the time.”

Greninger Construction, Carthage, is the general contractor on the home. Harry Greninger, owner of Greninger Construction, said it’s the first time he’s been involved in building a home like this one.

The subcontractor for the heavy lumber frame of the home is Cook Timber and Frame, out of Seymour, Mo. John Cook, owner of the company, said he hires Amish workers to build the frames of his homes because they have experience in this kind of construction.

A mortise and tenon construction joins each piece of lumber. The mortise is a hole, cut into one piece of wood, and the tenon is part of a second piece, cut to fit into the mortise.

Cook said workers fit the lumber pieces together, then use pegs made of hard ash wood to complete the link.

Instead of the hard sound of hammers or nail guns, the sound generated by this kind of construction is softer, generated by mallets made of rawhide.

The lumber in this construction is not you’re standard two-by-fours either.

Cook said the company uses heavy Douglass Fir timbers that range in size from eight-by-10 to eight-by-12.
“This is a unique system of construction used more often on the east coast,” Cook said. “It’s not used so much here.”

Cook said the home will be insulated with four to six inches of insulation in the walls and roof, making the home extremely energy efficient.

Greninger said Cook’s crew started on Wednesday and was nearly finished with the frame by Thursday evening.