We lumbered in the Heritage Pickup over to Clover Road in Bloomfield County near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It was the perfect fall day for the team to unearth the story of one of our barn reclamation projects.
Sue Terrilewithee met us outside, gathered us on the back patio of her brick farmhouse, and gave us a rambling history of the place.
When Sue’s family bought the farm in 1963 they knew it as the Hibbard Farm. “I ran around here as a kid. It was just a part of my life." When Sue and her husband took the property, they tried to save the barn. “Next to the house it was the oldest building here. To me she was like the Grand Queen of the property."
Her foundation was made from giant three-foot granite rocks which had to be cut by a mason to be made flat and pulled by oxen to the location. “Friends and family would dig the trench, drop the rock and cement so the ground was the form. I’m assuming there was a barn-raising, because that was their livelihood. The barn was their survival."
Originally stained red with edges trimmed in white, in the 1950’s she was painted white with a blue roof following a local trend at the time, eventually fading to a weathered grey.
"I watched her slowly disintegrate like some old person that’s starting to fall apart. When her cupola went down, it was like her crown fell off."
Sue and her husband called Heritage to take down the barn and salvage the materials. Sue expressed her gratitude that the barn would live on. "It’s good that her bones are continuing on. Old growth wood lived through history. It’s stronger and can live on for centuries and centuries being repurposed and rebuilt. Holding the old growth wood you can just feel the history."
Treating the Grand Queen with the respect she deserved, we are using her beautiful materials for custom projects and sharing her story along the way. Long live the Grand Queen.