Monday, August 04, 2008

The Whitehouse

In the name of progress, we tore down a piece of history here on the farm. The shed building that has occupied a spot in the yard for probably 60 years is now gone.
Back in the 40s, the family drilled a well in the yard to bring water to the farm the easy way, likely ending a long, laborious tradition of hauling water from the river. They had somehow acquired two little buildings (probably taken from the mines or the railroad, as that seems to have been the source of most of the building materials and farm supplies back in those days) and then joined them together to form one larger structure. It was placed directly over the well, and a pump was installed inside to send the water to the main house. To keep everything from freezing in the winter months, they added a fireplace to heat the building with wood. As the story goes, the local men would congregate here in the evenings to share stories, heat, and likely a fair amount of alcohol. Apparently, the yard was filled with pickup trucks some nights, and the little pumphouse became known as "The Whitehouse", where they solved all the problems of the world.
By the time I purchased the abandoned farm in 2002, everything had been stripped out of the buildings, including the plumbing. So that first year, we installed a submersible pump in the well to eliminate the need to keep The Whitehouse warm year-round. Since then, I have been using it as a makeshift workshop and storage area for tools, bikes and barn-building supplies. With the new barn now erected next door, it has become more of an eyesore, blocking the view and the southern it the time had come to take it down.
We didn't have a need for more salvaged materials and I really didn't want to spend a couple of weeks deconstructing the old building, so I posted it on Craigslist and found a farmer who was glad to come and take it for free (he'll be reconstructing it at his place near Duluth to use for his animals). So even though it is leaving our homestead, The Whitehouse lives on...

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