August 4, 2019 – Big Cedar Lake, WI – Century Farmhouse is a real place.
In 1885, my great-grandparents, Charles (Carl) and Anna Wagner, purchased a farm and hand-built log home on property in Washington County, Wisconsin. The area was not yet known as West Bend, although that was the closest town. The road we now list as our address, Paradise Drive, had not yet been designated and built. This was a quiet corner of Washington County with cleared farmland, wooded acres, and the nearby Cedar Lake.
The house had been built some years before with logs hewn and hauled from the nearby oak savannah by the early settlers of the land. Hand-adzed red oak and white oak logs were stacked, basswood fillers set between the main logs, cracks filled in with old German-language newspapers and millet, and all the spaces chinked with lime mortar.
The floor joists in the kitchen wing of the house were milled at Cedar Creek, a few miles away, and the bark was left on some of the boards as they were cut from the logs. The floor joists in the two-story part of the house were giant logs meant to hold the weight of the house. There wasn’t a cellar under the house; it would be hand-dug later under the two-story part by my great-grandfather and his sons, my grandfather John among them.
When the log house was built, it was considered to be ugly and something that only … click HERE to read the rest of the story by Ann Marie Craig.
I posted the painting a neighbor did of the Century Farmhouse farmyard in the 1970s.
His view was from the little road that runs past the farm and today’s pic is that same perspective – from the middle of the road in the 1970s. That old wire fence is still there, but over the years this view has become obscured by trees and bushes and wild grapevines.
I have seven siblings and we really had the run of the place when we were growing up. We had lots of chores to do around the farm, but when they were done we found ways to amuse ourselves – like climbing up the little shed roof to peer down through holes at my brother in his fort and dump water on him.
We climbed high in the haymow looking for tiny kittens, launching off down the hay bales on the rope-and-board monkey swing till we stopped and could hop off.
We renovated a falling-down moveable pig shed into a library for ourselves and the neighbor kids.
When the weather was nice we’d head outside after supper for a baseball game that lasted till dark.
Home base was the little tree in front of the chicken coop on the left side of the photo.
I could hit home runs from there; the ball would fly nearly to the fence at the road.
Unfortunately right field was where I usually ended up, because I closed my eyes whenever a ball would come toward me.
Click HERE for more stories about Century Farmhouse by Ann Marie Craig.