July 12, 2006

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The Streamland Farm, Lakeshore Drive at 126th Street. The farm, now called Quiet Creek, began as part of an estate built by a Chicago businessman. The complex consists of 5 farm structures—overlooking an orchard (recently replanted) just a stones throw from Lake Michigan. The barns have been carefully reconstructed by the present owners, Duane Brown and Kevin Martin. Even a small dairy shed (not shown in photo), made of small stones carried from the nearby beach, has been given a new life.          Photo by Bill Werme

Henry and Gussie Till’s Barn on upper Spear Street (ca. 1880) is being carefully rehabilitated by its owner, Lesa Werme. Henry Till was a local ship carpenter and like many of his trade invested and worked in the profitable fruit growing economy of the time. The barn was kept standing by his daughter, but it was clearly on its last legs. Most people would have torn it down, but Ms. Werme believed that saving the barn is akin to saving a treasury of memories of how people have related to the natural and man-made environments. The barn’s unusually gothic-like steep roof pitch is similar to a barn style popular in the 1850s—but it is most likely that the barn was a mail-order kit that was sent by steamship or railroad in 1880.          Photo by Bill Werme


As technology and modern life takes us farther and farther away from the land and nature, it is the history and preservation of historic landscapes, including farm structures that take us back to the age-old marriage of country and town. A century ago the Saugatuck-Douglas area was blanketed with carefully laid out orchards. Extending from this was a multitude of barns and farmhouses—and even roadside markets. All of this made up a pleasant sort of architecture without architects and act as important records of time. Here we feature two barn rehabilitation projects—both of which will be featured at the Historical Museum “Tuesday Talk” for July 18th titled “Barn Talk” by Lesa Werme, Duane Brown and Kevin Martin.     by Jim Schmiechen

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