Early History of Big Butte’s Development
(Notes transcribed from Big Butte log book)
Entry Date – Easter Monday 4/20/1992
Meeting Glen Parker:
A van pulled up in driving rain this morning. Out hopped Glen Parker, a spry 83+ year old. Glen quickly identified himself as the builder of Big Butte and as the owner before Logan Robertson & Baxter Taylor.
Glen had bought a friend and prospective log cabin customer from North Georgia with him. Glen is there turkey hunting and this fellow decided he wanted Glen to build him a cabin – Big Butte is to serve as the model.
Glen worked timber supervision for Champion her until becoming ‘disabled’. He moved here (to site of Big Butte) with his wife and remodeled an old cabin (know called Rusty Butt and the home of Bob & Mary Lee Paxton). The old barn by the river is the only other building from this period. There was a low water bridge when he arrived just about where the garage is now. He replaced that with a higher bridge made out of metal, attached to the big rock in the river (one with twisted steel rebar, which was moved upstream during some stream remodeling). One night, 3 years after construction, there came a big rain. Glen heard rocks rolling in the river and became concerned. He and his wife were going to Wyoming the next day. At 2AM he decided to take his station wagon across the river to Hwy 276. Pulling onto the bridge, he noted water beginning to flow over its top. He retreated immediately. Thereafter a large tree washed down stream, fouling the bridge and thence twisting its girders and snapping them from their moorings.
(After this event, he began looking for a purchaser)
He reports that upon selling to Logan (seen to the right) and Baxter that he began building the cabins for Big Butte, The front cabin came from Big Sandy Mush; the rear (with the kitchen) came from Max Patch up in Madison with parts of other cabins that were purchased to complete the job. The breeze-way (now enclosed) between the two cabins was originally a shuffle board court built for Logan’s father’s (Reuben Robertson – founder of Champion Plant in Canton) enjoyment.
A champion field man working out of New Bern (NC) found the small cabin (called Marty Butte) as part of his work. He purchased it for Logan and Glen moved it here. It is made of heart pine logs. Its name, Marty Butte honors Martin Cavanaugh, the man who located it.
Glen continued telling Logan tales. Seems he had sold the place to Logan and Baxter on credit (total sale @ $25,000), and still held a $12,000 note. He’d kept title during the financing and Logan had acquired a new partner (?), a lawyer from NYC. After a period Logan and this new partner had a falling-out. This fellow got to wanting to squeeze Logan out and approached Glen about purchasing the balance of the note and deed of trust. Glen, favoring Logan, contacted him with news of the impending deal. Logan, as usual, was broke. Glen reports having so much respect for Logan that he loaned the purchase price to him so Logan was able to secure the deed. This must have ultimately led to Logan becoming the sole owner of Big Butte.
Glen is represented in this area by a son, Tom Parker of Canton, who lives on Newfound Rd. Glen said he was willing to come up for a spell & work on the place. His prescription for longevity is ‘work of the morning and golf until dark.
- Named for his mother’s brother, Logan Gamble Thomson, he was the youngest child of Hope Thomson and Reuben B. Robertson. He graduated from Yale College in 1938.
Logan married Evelyn Elizabeth Radeker (“Betty”) in Biltmore Forest, near Asheville, on September 8, 1938, Rev. William C. Cravner officiating. Betty was born on April 7, 1916 in Middletown, New York, daughter of Lillian Adelaide Adams of Boston, Massachusetts and Walter Scott Radeker of Warren, Pennsylvania. She attended Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Logan and Betty divorced after their three children were grown. She died on May 5, 1993.
Following his marriage, Logan attended the Yale School of Medicine until World War II intervened. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps, stationed at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania, McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, and other places. Logan received his M.D. degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1942, and attended the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for further study in radiology. He also studied at Duke University Medical School and was a resident intern at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.
After the war ended in 1945, the family returned to Asheville, where Logan entered general practice and surgery. He affiliated with the Norburn Hospital and Clinic, which he helped to establish with his brother-in-law Dr. Russell Norburn and Dr. Charles Norburn. He was interested in industrial and preventative medicine, at one time providing surgical care for Southern Railway employees. Logan founded and was the president and medical director of Occupational Health Services, an organization that provided medical examinations at industrial plant sites. Logan served as a consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S., the New York State Civil Service Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Flight Center, and was regarded as a pioneer in the field of industrial medicine.
Logan also was involved in a variety of business ventures in the Asheville area and elsewhere. Unfortunately these investments were too far ahead of their time or proved otherwise unviable. One company called Rondesics, Inc. developed low-cost modular housing based on the innovative design concepts of R. Buckminster Fuller, the visionary architect/engineer. Logan was involved in development of the Southern Cross Club, the first resort property on Little Cayman Island in the British West Indies. His company, Daniels Business Services, in the 1950s was one of the first firms in Asheville to offer computerized data processing services on a commercial basis. He was also involved in unsuccessful resort development and automobile retailing ventures in Asheville. Logan served as president of the Asheville Rotary Club, a member of the board of directors of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, and in various organizations in the medical field.
Logan was remarried on September 13, 1966, in Buncombe County, North Carolina, to Mary Jane Mesnard, daughter of Lillian Kohvakka and Leo Mesnard. She was born on March 8, 1931 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and died of emphysema on May 10, 1975, in Asheville. She was apparently buried at Calvary Churchyard at Fletcher, North Carolina, although no grave marker has been located. Mary Jane and Logan Robertson had one daughter. In addition, Mary Jane’s three children by a previous marriage also lived with them and took the surname Robertson: Thomas, Caroline, and Joseph B. (“J.B.”) Robertson.
Logan’s third marriage was to Judith Scouten, who was born in Brunswick, Georgia. They had no children, but Logan’s youngest daughter, Amerette, and three children from a prior marriage of Judith’s (who also took the name Robertson) — Jennifer, Jonathan and Laura Robertson — lived with them. Together with the children, Logan and Judith moved “back to nature” about 1978, to a log cabin home called “Big Butte” on a small, remote farmstead that Logan owned in the mountains near Cruso in Haywood County, North Carolina. There they raised all their own food, without pesticides or chemicals. Logan believed that modern farming technologies produce vegetables and fruits that are deficient in nutrients, and he considered the American populace as a whole to be overfed but undernourished.
In later years, Logan became an outspoken exponent and practitioner of holistic medicine (an approach to healing that emphasizes treatment of the whole person and the interconnectedness of the body’s parts). This approach and Logan’s unorthodox procedures for healing ultimately led him into serious conflict with the medical establishment, which was still unresolved at his death.
Logan Thomson Robertson died in his sleep on December 16, 1987, in Brugge, Belgium, on a vacation trip to Europe with his third wife, Judith. He was 71.