Log City

Log City

Amy Rooks West (b. 1818 - d. 1904)

Log City

circa 1837

oil on canvas

Knox College Art Collection

Born in New York State, Amy Rooks West was one of the early settlers who helped found Galesburg in the 1830s. Her painting has the distinction of being the only surviving visual record of Log City. This was the name given to the cluster of log cabins in Henderson Grove that served as a temporary settlement while the town of Galesburg was being built. West’s painting depicts the seventeen rustic structures of the settlement, which housed about 175 people and included a church and school. Her painting contains topographic inaccuracies and certain buildings are more intricately depicted than others, reflecting her amateur skills as a folk painter. However, this work falls within the category of “memory painting,” a genre not devoted to objective accuracy but to personal visual commemoration of a locale and its regional customs.

Emma Newman