Cadiz’s Long left his mark

CADIZ The buildings of Harrison County carry a rich history. Chris and Becky Wood have uncovered several pieces during the renovation of their home.

The hundred-year-old Victorian house on Dewey Street had been the home of E.M. Long, a celebrated builder of his time whose projects include the county courthouse and the Harrison County Home, the Cadiz High School and the Custer Hotel. He also constructed other houses in Cadiz.

“He was a master carpenter,” said Becky Wood, noting that the house was constructed in 1900. “We’re the fourth owner of this home.”

Wood said the renovation process uncovered several items of interest, including a paper bearing information about E.M. Long & Sons Wholesale Builders Supply.

“He had nailed this to the back of the back of the house, sort of like signing your work,” she said. “We were hoping there would be something with his name on it.”

She noted that the county historical society may be interested in looking over some of these pieces of the past.

She added that the renovation has uncovered several items of interest that illustrate how the practice of carpentry and house construction had changed during the past century. These include homemade, hand-cut nails and spikes used to fasten the original siding.

“At that time, there were no electric power tools. Everything was done by hand,” Wood said.

Other interesting touches Long built into his home and that still remain include sliding partitions and a gas lamp.

The house stands 50-feet high and includes four stories. The renovation process has included insulating the structure and replacing the original but deteriorated cedar siding with vinyl. Some unique touches, such as the mortar and glass exterior of the peaks, was also deteriorated and had to be taken down, but the Woods plan on retaining some of those pieces as well.

Bill Marks of Bill Marks Construction said the project was on its fifth week and would likely take seven weeks in total. He observed the difficulties Long must have surmounted in constructing this and other formidable structures in the area without the aid of modern equipment.

“I’m at my limit. How they did that 100 years ago, it boggles the mind,” E.M. Long was a master.

He noted that when the house was originally constructed, Long would have used a wooden scaffolding in building the 50-foot-high house. The residence also boasts hand-crafted arches. Marks said the work has been complicated by the focus on preserving the house’s original style.

“We’re trying to save as much history as we can,” he said, adding that Long left them a quality structure and foundation to work with. He observed the exact standards in the turns and corners, the double walls and double floors. He saw similarities when he worked on the County Home roof.

“The County Home was built like a fort, and this is too,” he said.

Wood noted that several people in the area can trace their ancestry to Long.

DeFrank can be reached at