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The above photo was submitted by John Krause, a descendant of Daniel Krause, who was the original owner and architect of the stone barn. It is believed to have been taken between 1905 and 1920.

This German design fieldstone barn was completed in 1903. It is located on the NE corner of Cty Rd S & Schwartz Rd in the Town of Chase, Oconto Cty, Wisconsin.
The Krause family bought this property in 1870. Around 1886 they built their first big house. The Oconto County Reporter wrote:

Dec 1886: Daniel Krause has a good farm and has partly finished a very large and commodious dwelling house, which will be among the finest on the road.

Stone Barn
Engraved in the south wall of the stone barn is the inscription:

1903 D. E. Krause
Architect
Wm Mensenkamp
Mason


Daniel was also the owner of the farm when it was built.

Barn There is still a mystery as to why this farm was so successful when farmers were typically very poor in those days. There is more of a mystery as to why they built a fieldstone barn instead of a timber barn. True, stones were just as plentiful as lumber, however it was much more efficient and cheaper to build a timber barn than a stone barn. It is estimated that this barn could have taken over a year to build. A mason had to be hired, as well as crews to gather the stones from nearby fields and haul them to the barn site. Then there was the matter of lifting and laying the stones, which was no easy task, especially to the higher parts of the stone wall
Back in those olden days, farmers would help one another build their barns because a farmer could not do it alone. It was the way things were done, and it was expected that all of the local neighbors would help. The barns were typically raised within a couple of days, which was another reason neighbors helped one another, as a farmer could not be gone from his own farm for any great length of time. There was usually a job for everybody; the older boys would help the older men, and the wives and daughter's would help with the meals and take care of the younger children. When the barn was complete, they would have a big celebration including a big meal and barn dance. Barn
The Barn
Antique Farming looks at farming’s number one icon, the Barn .
We will begin with a look at the Dairy Barn

The rate, at which barns are disappearing, is nothing short of alarming. Visit part one of the two part story documenting the process that rescued a Wisconsin barn from the fate that has removed so many barns from our rural landscape.
Barn Restoration Part 1
Barn Before

Barn Most of the stones that were used to build this barn were gathered from local farm fields, hence the name "fieldstones." But that is not where they originally came from. They were pushed and tumbled here by huge glaciers from the Canadian Shield during three known ice ages that moved through Wisconsin over the past 70,000 years.

The glaciers plowed over everything in their paths like giant bull dozer's, burying rocks, trees, and other debris deep beneath the earth. Every spring when the frost is coming out of the ground, many of these stones work their way up and through the surface of newly plowed fields. Farmers had to remove their "stone crops" before they could plant their other crops.
This was no easy task since there were no tractors, loaders or dump trucks at that time. Stones were lifted by hand were probably put onto a "stone boat" which is a wooden sleigh that sits very low to the ground on two runners so that it can glide easily over ruts and rough terrain when pulled by a team of horses or oxen. Having it low to the ground also helped ease the back-breaking labor of lifting the heavy stones onto a higher wagon.

Once loaded, the stones were usually hauled to the edge of the field and piled. Sometimes the stones were used as border walls between property lines. Other times they were hauled to other locations to be used as foundations for timber barns and houses....or in this case, a whole barn.
 
Barn
The barn was designed with two very large arched doorways at each end of the barn. This allowed you to pull a hay wagon full of "loose" hay into the barn with a team of horses, unload the hay, and then exit out the other end.

To unload the hay, a pulley system, which was mounted in the ceiling of the roof, would lift the hay up to the level of the loft where workers waited with hay hooks ready to grab the hay and pull it onto the loft. The middle stone half-wall connects to both ends of the barn and helps support the loft, as well as section off the parlor. It helps support the large beams that support the roof. Hay would be dropped over the edge of the loft to the barn floor where it was picked up and pitched through the wooden feed doors to the cows in the stable on the other side.
As the years went by, the north wall slowly began to lean outward. It is believed that this was caused by not having enough cross support for that wall. The south wall remained stable because it was anchored by the loft and the stone half-wall inside the barn.

The leaning wall caused several large cracks in the wall, and numerous smaller ones throughout the structure. It also loosened the roof. If not repaired, the wall was estimated to have fallen down within a few years.

Around the early 1990's, a small tornado blew a small section of the tin roof off the northwest corner of the stone barn, which was loose because of the leaning wall.

That same tornado took the small concrete cap off the top of the silo and blew it over the barn clear into the neighboring woods a few acres away!

It also severely damaged the large wooden hay barn that was off the southwest corner of the stone barn to the point where it had to be taken down.

The Pulaski Area Historical Society, among others, were very concerned for the future of the stone barn and pleaded with the Frysh Brother's to have the barn fixed. They also recommended to the brother's that efforts be made to put the barn on both the State and National Register of Historic Places. They agreed.

below A small tornado ripped off a section of the tin roof that had been loose because of the leaning north wall.
Orvil "The Building Doctor" and his crew were hired by the Frysh's insurance company to fix the roof. Orvil had a reputation for being one of the best in the state because he repaired old structures that other's said couldn't be fixed.

Orvil was only contracted to fix the roof, but when he saw the leaning wall and all the damage it had caused, he recommended to the insurance company that they fix the wall and cracks first before fixing the roof, since that is was what caused the roof to loosen in the first place.
The Frysh brother's only had $15,000 worth of insurance on the barn because they figured, "What was there to burn?" In the end, the insurance company and the Frysh brother's agreed to split the of the cost of the whole project in half. Orvil and his crew were there for 2-3 weeks making the repairs. The total cost of the project was over $15,000, with the insurance company and the Frysh brother's each having to pay half of that amount.

Before pulling the wall in, a single row of stones had to be removed from the bottom of the inner north wall at ground level so that as the wall was being pulled back in, it had room to tip. (A concrete footing later replaced the space were the stones were removed).

Thirteen holes were dug along the outside of the north wall. Large beams were then inserted into the holes and braced against the outer wall. This process is also known as "Still Backs." It allows pressure to be distributed along the whole wall when it is pulled in, not just where the chains would be connected. This process lessens the chance of the wall cracking or buckling when pressure is applied to it.

Long threaded 5/8" rods were then inserted into pre-drilled holes in the tops and bottoms of the beams from the outside toward the inside. I-nuts (nuts that were casted with a loop over the head of the nut) were then turned onto each rod until secure. Come-a-long chains were then connected to the loops on each I-nut.
 

Orvil Krueger,
The Building Doctor
Marion, WI
The loft floor was then raised just enough over the center stone wall to let most of the chains pass through it to get to the south wall. Other chains went through other openings in the center wall, such as the door in the center wall.

There were no beams on the south wall, so the chains had to go through whatever openings there were. Planks were put across windows and doors so that the chains could be anchored to them. One chain was even attached to one of the silo rungs.

Then slowly, one click at a time, one beam at a time, the north wall was pulled back in 16". Rods were then run across the upper part of the barn from the north wall to the south wall and secured with turn buckles (a device that connects the rods together and can be turned to tighten the tension if needed). This was done to give the north wall the cross support it needed, and to help prevent it from ever tipping again.

Since the 1995 renovations, the north and south walls have remained secure and the turn buckles have never had to be adjusted. Good job Orvil and your team :-)

n 1999 the Pulaski Area Historical Society started efforts to list the barn on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Money had to be raised to hire Della Rucker, a historian, to research the history of the stone barn and write the nomination papers to the state and national registry's. Their efforts finally paid off, and in the year 2000, the old stone barn was accepted on both registry's.

By 2004, both Frysh brother's had passed away, leaving the stone barn and 10 acres of land to their niece. In February 2006, Harold and Mary Peterson purchased the stone barn. Upon learning that the town had always been interested in the owning the barn, the Peterson's decided to sell it to town. On May 16, 2007 the Town of Chase became the proud new owner's of the stone barn.

For more pictures and info on the Chase Stone Barn please visit www.townofchase.org. Special Thanks to Kristin Kolkowski for this article.
 
Barn Gallery
Barn Before Barn After Barn Before Barn After
 
 
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Dairy Barn

During the turn of the century most barns could be classified as "general purpose" As more rigid milk inspection requirements were put in place around many cities, the dairy herd was required to be in a building apart from hogs, calves, horses, or sheep. This spelled the end of the general purpose type barn.
Gone Forever
Falling Barn
Anecdotal information suggests that Wisconsin is losing over 400 of the wooden barns that characterize the landscape each year, but to date there has been no detailed comprehensive inventory. Source: State Historical Society of Wisconsin  

Old Barn
Fieldstone Walls
Antique tractor pictures
At one time, much of Wisconsin was covered with glaciers. The glaciers southern journey stopped short of the Illinois border. What these icy giants left behind would become the building blocks and foundations to most old Wisconsin barns.

The fieldstone walls on my barn are nothing short of impressive. The massive fieldstone wall stands three feet across and ten feet high. The walls stood firm despite the wooden structure of my pre restored barn leaned forward and putting pressure on the barns foundation.

Although most Wisconsin barns disappear because of neglect long after a barn has fallen the fieldstone wall remains. Despite these walls being built over a century ago be hand They require some of today's largest bulldozers to remove them.


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