Ottawa Township High School

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TSA Students Help Construct the World’s Tallest Lincoln Log Structure

TSA Students Help Construct the World’s Tallest Lincoln Log Structure

Reprinted with permission of “The Times,” Ottawa, Illinois

Displayed in the front window of Jeremiah Joe in downtown Ottawa, Illinois stood a new world record for the tallest structure made of Lincoln Logs.

Made of 2,995 pieces by the Community House of Arts of Ottawa (CHAOS), with the help of Ottawa Township High School's Technology Student Association and community donations, unofficially the structure accomplished the Guinness world record in March 2010 at the downtown Ottawa coffee shop. Land surveyor Michael Etscheid confirmed the measurements. About 100-150 people watched the construction in a four-hour span, including Fishsticks & Milk and an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

"Isn't it terrific?"asked Caryn Leake, artistic director of CHAOS, admiring the structure. "It was a project that involved the entire community." Since there was no established record for tallest Lincoln Log structure, the team had to surpass 10 feet to achieve record status.

Ottawa Township High School seniors Jack Miller and Travis Walker designed the structure. Originally drawing up a six-by-six-foot walk-in structure, the duo scaled the project down to stay within their supply of logs and changed the goal from building the largest to the tallest. What arose from floor to ceiling replicated a standard plus-sign used in simple skyscrapers.

"It's originally Jack's idea and I modeled it on the 3-D program," said Walker, who plans on attending Morrison Institute of Technology. "The basic plus sign was the easiest to do. I'm just happy it's still standing."

While Walker watched the computer model come to life from the coffee shop, Miller stood on a ladder in the display window and built the structure piece-by-piece. "I was afraid it might fall over," said Walker, who plans on attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "But I knew it was stable and I was confident in the math."

To practice, OTHS computer-aided design teacher and TSA advisor Ed Frankenberger said students built three eight-foot trial structures in the classroom.

Those in attendance gasped at each wobble and cheered when the structure reached the ceiling.

With a goal of collecting 20,000 Lincoln Logs, community members supplied CHAOS with 18,159. Those logs were used for other structures built by the public and were added on to the record-setter.

Leake said CHAOS will fill out the necessary paperwork to make the record official. "We had to videotape it, take stop-action photos periodically and have witnesses sign to get recognition," she said.

Leake's son, Nathan inspired the idea."He was interested in Lincoln Logs and we watched videos online to see some of the things people built with them," Leake said. "We saw some pretty big structures and wondered what the record was."

Raffle tickets were sold at Jeremiah Joe for the chance to knock down the structure the following next month.