When Dinsmoor Retired...
... from farming and moved to town, he build a house, the Cabin Home, intended to be both a residence and a source of income. For the exterior, he chose postrock limestone, the fine-quality building stone used in many commercial buildings, houses, barns, and fence posts in the area. His construction technique was unique, however. He had the stone quarried in long narrow lengths, some up to twenty feet long. The stone was then laid up with dovetailed corners in the manner of a log cabin. He designed the main floor with a mind to entertaining visitors, incorporating 3,000 feet of oak, redwood, and walnut to elaborate moldings and baseboards, To add to the unique look, he built no two windows or doors the same size.
Dinsmoor, the artist and social commentator, spent the years between 1907 and 1928 creating the Cabin Home and the Garden of Eden. He located his sculptural environment in a residential area, within walking distance of Main Street businesses and visible from the principal railroad track. It appears that Dinsmoor selected the location with the public in mind. The environment was a popular attraction; income from visitors' admission fees provided a degree of financial security for Dinsmoor and his family. He welcomed visitors and led tours of the site while the work was in progress.
Excerpted from "The Garden of Eden" by John Hachmeister, an essay included in the book Backyard Visionaries: Grassroots Art in the Midwest, edited by Barbara Brackman & Cathy Dwigans