Milwaukee is known for it’s beer, midwestern-ﬂavored urban culture, and its working-class history depicted by the classic TV shows Laverne and Shirley and Happy Days. German, Irish, Italian, Polish, Greek, and Jewish folk originally settled in the area, with even more people groups attracted to the city for jobs in manufacturing. To make great cities it takes great people, and in that Milwaukee had no shortage. Theodore Vilter and his brothers were living examples of the American Dream, right on the shores of Lake Michigan.
"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 TERRILEWITHEE, 2016
“This farm has been in our family for over a hundred years.
My dad was born on this farm, literally on the kitchen table of the old farmhouse in 1923.”
— RICK THOMAS, 2015
Hard work and industry was what their farm life was all about.
“It was the farm work ethic. We seem to have lost that these days,
but maybe it’s coming back. People are realizing again that there’s such a joy
to planting, watering, and harvest: a beginning, middle and an end.”
— KIM (SCHWALL) SEIDL, 2015
Heritage Beam and Board’s original picker barn. Taken down by gale-force winds, the Smage Family set Seth and Adam loose to pick through and stockpile the beautiful white pine beams, joists, and sun-weathered tongue and groove siding.
Sometimes you don't have to look to far to make big things happen. This barn was right down the street from Heritage HQ. Seth brought his son, Noah on the first day of this barn dropping, and afterwards Noah wrote about it for us here. Be watching for lots of beautiful wood and furniture made from this barn, and our newest farm find: a way cool hay car!
After a brutal winter we are finally able to dismantle the first barn of 2014. It was great old barn and we had a couple of friendly Flickas loafing around to keep us on task. They were great company and they smelled better than we did after a hard day of barn demo.
This barn in Harvard, IL was dismantled by Heritage in the winter of 2013. The name doesn’t lie—Seth got a surprise visit from a daddy coon up in the hay mow while taking down siding. The story is that ol' Seth may or may not have screamed like a little girl.
A walloping second-cousin of a sheep barn. Story has it that Farmer Schaefges had a penchant for shooting rats at all hours of the night much to the neighbor’s dismay. Seth’s wife Andrina remembers hearing the shots—she grew up right down the road.
A barn drop before Heritage was Heritage. This barn was already dilapidated when the boys arrived to take it down. It took them a few day’s hard work and they camped out right on site, poking the fire and dreaming of the partnership that is now Heritage Beam and Board.
There are curiosities and curveballs around every bale of hay when dropping a barn and the Berglund Barn did not disappoint. Berglund was a beautiful 2-story barn with a cavernous hay mow and gambrel roof affixed with a prominent crow’s beak. Adam and Seth got a little surprise working on this barn.“When we pulled the siding off of the front side of the barn a swarm of hornets came pouring out all around us! Amazingly no one got stung that day!” Just another day on a barn drop.
The historic barn that planted the seed. Adam and Emily were driving by and wondered if they could get some wood off of that barn out there.
That’s when Adam said, “Hey, I know that guy.” So Adam and Seth got on out there and the Lyons Family were friendly partners in their first barn dropping.
BOTTOM LINE: farmers make good friends.