Kewaskum Farm Salvage
It is our mission to preserve the past, if not one structure at a time, then one piece at a time. Big or small, from thirty foot barn beams to the flat-head screws holding the hardware in place, we must preserve the past. The Kewaskum Farm Salvage is a formidable example of preserving one piece at a time. Throughout the spring and summer of 2016, we salvaged this quintessential Midwest early-1900s, four bedroom farmhouse (each with it’s own closet!) and barn. Prior to salvage day, my husband and business partner did all the necessary leg work; meeting with the owner, photographing the structures and drafting the salvage contract. On salvage day, we passed over the river and wound around the country road, truck and trailer loaded with equipment… my first time at the property. My husband said with warning, “Please don’t get any ideas about saving this one.” It was love at first sight! (He knows me so well!) Visions of grandeur that were long gone swam through my head, alongside idealized visions of simple country living. I walked the property and the structures dismayed by the inevitable. Today was salvage day. And while most, those who have never salvaged, would love to work along side of us, it is not easy. Obviously the physical aspect of salvaging is challenging and taxing… a workout that most people pay for. The ability to problem solve on the fly would make most folks heads explode. BUT the most difficult for me is dismantling the structure that holds memories of someone else’s family gatherings, the pitter-patter of little feet running up the front staircase, across the second floor hall and the slamming of a bedroom door. The house has a good feel. Before I start dismantling, I romanticize about what it was like growing up in this house, this yard, this barn. All the while the decay, the mold, the bat, bird and mouse sh*t permeate the structure. It gets into my clothes, my hair, my nostrils and clings to my skin. That’s the turning point and I’m pissed. I’m angry that someone hasn’t done something to save her before I am obliged to dismantle her. I force myself to think about all of our customers, our friends, who need these parts and pieces to restore the homes and buildings they have made their mission to save. And I think about all of those that have come to us to build a new house, who are willing to incorporate these pieces into their own legacy. I feel somewhat championed. A preservationist of sorts. I grab my hardhat and tool bag and get to work.
The photos are a very small representation of the quantity of material that was used in restoration, remodeling, decorative arts and new house construction. Enjoy!
Most fascinating (on a large scale) were the sleepers, the wood timber “foundation” of the barn. Once they were transported back to Oshkosh, at the sawmill, the first slice revealed ROCK ELM, an extinct species of wood! Once discovered, the rock elm was milled into flooring for two new house constructions. One is built and featured in several photos throughout our website. Ground breaking is slated for summer of 2017 for the second house. Both will preserve the history of the Kewaskum farm.