Information submitted by Patricia Stimmel
Back when Big Canoe was young, there were only a few builders brave enough to hack through the woods to find perfect views for eager folks to claim as picture window panoramas. Back in the ‘70s, most folks were looking for a Big Canoe weekend retreat to escape the heat and hustle of big city life. Nobody planned to live in a place where the nearest grocery store was ten miles away.
Dick Plummer had a vision, fueled by his friendship with Tom Cousins who owned Big Canoe at the time. Dick was working at Trane Company when a friend asked if he would build him a cabin on Lake Lanier. From that singular start, Dick Plummer ended up building 114 cabins in Big Canoe utilizing almost two dozen designs, all named after trees. The address posts Dick designed carried the logo of an oak tree embedded on a cedar sign.
While cabin designs varied, shared characteristics bound all 114 homes. Many were built on steep slopes requiring creosoted poles as part of the foundation. Inside most featured wide heart pine plank flooring, rough cedar walls, vaulted ceilings, and Tennessee field stone fireplaces.
Dick built ‘em fast, but built ‘em good. He was an independent contractor and was known to finish a cabin faster than a team of five other Big Canoe builders combined.
Dick Plummer was careful to build his cabins on posts to avoid musty, earthy odors since most owners weren’t here regularly to monitor problems. At the time, cabins were located far apart – it was a real wilderness experience back then, something city dwellers loved.
Along with rustic, cozy cabins, Dick Plummer built the Big Canoe Chapel where both of his daughters were married. Dick’s friend, builder Paul Schmidt, came onboard to manage Chapel maintenance, but ultimately built the Broyles Center as well as the IGA complex. Dick and Paul were quite the movers and shakers of their day!
Many of the Plummer cabins retain their original charm and style while others are almost unrecognizable as being Plummer built. Because the cabins were designed for weekend living, they were smaller than the forever homes built decades later. Thus, “adding on” changed the character of some, but the little touches Dick Plummer added to make his cabins cozy still shine through.
Patricia Stimmel lives in a Plummer called “Little Cabin House.” She’s become fascinated with the builder’s story and the techniques he used to create a neighborhood of quaint forest fantasies. Patricia would like to start a loosely structured club of Plummer owners so folks could visit various cabins, compare stories, and maybe get a few hints about remodeling.
If you own a Plummer and would like to connect, contact Patricia at (404) 210-0653 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.