I was out showing a house a few weeks ago in Marshall, Michigan. It was a foreclosure, and the buyers were taking their time going through each room, assessing the size. At one point we went into the basement to look at the furnace, and water heater, and see the overall basement size.
In Michigan, it is not uncommon to see a small basement which is commonly called 'A Michigan Basement'. It ususally consists of stone or concrete walled basement, with a small amount of space. They were originally used to store coal, for coal furnaces back in the day. This particular home was built in the mid 1800's. Something I have learned as a Realtor, is when you are exploring a basement it is always important to remember to look up.
In this case, when I looked up, I saw that the floor joists were made from original trees fallen back when the house was originally built. The logs still had the bark on them, which is not very common. I have seen it a few times before in homes built in this era, but these seemed particularily well preserved. I guess it just goes to show you the endurance of wood when it is preserved properly under the right conditions.
I cannot help but let the imagination roll when I see something like this. I wonder about the people that built the home, the resources they had, and whole era it was built in. So it goes to show you, there are always surprises when exploring old homes.