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 very poor farmers would live in. So the pretty logs were covered with clapboards on the outside and exposed walls inside were plastered and dotted everywhere with sponged cobalt blue paint. My great-grandmother planted the peonies and the lilac and snowball bushes that still grow in the yard.
By 1920 the farm had been sold to my grandfather, John Wagner and he brought his wife Rosa to the little log house where they raised two children, Daniel and Pearl Marie, who became my mother.
My children are the fifth generation to live in this house. It is tiny and rustic and full of memories. Some of the furniture pieces that generations before me lived with are still in this house, and although much of the land has been sold off - it has been sold off to my siblings and a cousin - it remains in the family.
Century Farmhouse is named after the house I live in - the house that has been part of my family for five generations. Join me as I occasionally write about life on this farm - past generations and mine - I know a lot of the stories!