These are some of the most frequently asked questions, those that are links have
Just like in life, not all questions have easy answers, look for
more questions and answers to arrive here soon, or send us an email
with your questions or check out our Feedback Page.
How can I be a part of history?
I want to fix up a building on my property, can you provide consulting to us on how to do it
or how to decide priorities? Please see our Consulting
Will Centreville Settlement help me with or fund
repairs to any buildings for me?
is a housebarn?
Housebarns are of ancient heritage...the animals and humans
living side by side. They are very
common throughout Germany and central Europe.
There are several variations. The
most traditional form is the “L” shape, which is a two or three storied
structure with the humans in one end of the “L” and the animals in the
The Lutze Housebarn is a long straight three storied
structure with the animals on the west end and the people on the east.
The larger animals (horses, oxen, cows and maybe hogs) were housed on the first floor.
The heat they generate rises and warms the second floor for the smaller
animals such as chickens, geese and sheep. In
the family residence, the kitchen is located on the first floor.
The cooking stove generated much of the heat and special heat pipes transmitted the heat
to the other rooms on the first & second floor. The third story was for hay and straw storage which acted
It was also traditional in Europe to have a courtyard.
The first building usually was built east to west with the main opening
on the south. Other buildings were
added as needed built around the courtyard square. The Lutze Housebarn was the first building (built in 1849).
A new barn was built in 1874 and later expanded.
A sheep barn was built between the housebarn and new barn and, in 1896,
the present yellow brick house was built. There
were also a butcher shed, wood shed and chicken coop that completed the
How can I see the old time building
skills being done?
Lutze Housebarn restoration is in progress every other
Saturday from April through November. Visitors
and volunteers are welcome during any workday.
Special arrangements can be made for larger groups and visiting during
other times. <Click
here for our calendar>
The Lutze Housebarn is the only site we know of that allows
visitors to tour and participate in the preservation skills during actual
All work is being done, where ever possible, with heritage
tools and skills. Classes are held
periodically in timber structural repair and stone masonry.
Nogging and cedar shingle making are other crafts classes offered
occasionally. Watch this web site
or contact us for information.
Can I come
The Lutze Housebarn is open to the public and volunteers
every workday and at other times by special arrangement.
Work days are every other Saturday April though November.
(see work day schedule posted on this site).
Visitors are encourage to put on their work boots, gloves and clothes and join the other volunteers. Part
of Centreville Settlement’s mission is to preserve not only the building but
the skills and the culture of the time. Joining a work day allows the volunteer to experience the
camaraderie of working together and a job well done. All volunteers are invited to a traditional farm style work
Housebarn tours are available between 10:00 am -12 noon
every workday. There is a $5
donation for tours. All visitors
are invited to join the lunch (there is a small fee for non-workers).
Other tours available include:
There are three functioning outdoor wood bake ovens in the
area. Baking demonstrations can
be arranged for large groups.
Centerville Township has a wonderful collection of
silos of many construction styles and materials...from very old to very new. Tour includes history of silos.
“Farming Through the Ages” visits the Lutze Housebarn,
a traditional small Wisconsin farm, a large modern, high tech farm and a
farm practicing "alternative" farming techniques.
Centerville Township tour provides a snapshot of
Wisconsin as it entered Statehood. It
includes the original shipping port of Hika, several farms, cemeteries,
churches and a history of the times. A
traditional German meal can be arranged.
What is "nogging"?
"Nogging" is general term meaning a functional filler in
the walls of a building. In log buildings (logs stacked on top of each
other) there is usually split wood wedged between the logs, and then covered
with a mortar-like clay/lime mixture to keep out moisture and wind.
In the case of the Lutze Housebarn and many German style
buildings there are rough split vertical staves wedged into the openings between
the timbers. Once made solid, they are hand packed with a mixture of damp
clay, sand, and long and short straw. Then the surface is covered with the
same clay/sand mixture without the straw and troweled smooth. Once
dry (4 to 8 weeks) a final smooth coat is troweled over. Traditionally
this is then covered with a lime wash, leaving the framework exposed in
the traditional German fechwerke style.
I have an old barn.
Centreville Settlement is a rural historic preservation
organization dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, cultural and
farming heritage in the Centerville, Wisconsin area. People have asked to donate their buildings to our
organization but collecting old buildings is not is our mission. An historic building has it’s most value if it remains on
it’s original site.
If you feel you own a building that has historic value, contact your
local preservation organization. Many
have historic villages that may accept your building.
If you are not sure of the historic value of the building,
or are looking for ideas about how to stabilize or repair your building, check our consultant page.
If you are going to tear it down, we may consider accepting
some of the timbers and wood for restoration of the Lutze Housebarn, or to hold
for sale as a fundraiser for our general operations.
Interested? Please contact Chris Kuehnel via email at
You may want to consider repairing or reconstructing it for
There are good tax incentives for preservation and adaptive uses of
historic buildings. Check our consultant page for help.
What does “hand hewn” mean?
Immigrants built their own buildings with hand tools.
Sometimes they had access to a water powered saw mill but in most cases
all the wood was hand shaped. The
trees were cut down and timbers and boards were created through pure physical
As Centreville Settlement volunteers restore the Lutze
Housebarn, most work is done by hand with heritage tools.
We offer internships in half timber repair with includes the use and care
of hand tools.
What is an oral history?
When a reporter or author writes a story, article or book,
he/she will investigate the material. He
will interview people, record what her sees and may report on previous written
information found in books, journals, letters.
Interviewing people create a live report of the story. It is an
“oral” report of an event. An
oral history is the same thing. It
is the documenting of history through what people remember and tell to a
There is a process to documenting history through oral
reports. Centreville Settlement has
an “Oral History” booklet that tells you how to collect information for
Every person has stories to tell of the past.
It is the old timers in the community that can tell the stories of
history....when the railroad first came through, when the dam was built, what it
was like when all the boys went off to WWI, what people did for entertainment
when they were children, what were the favorite recipes of the time,
how were holidays celebrated. They
can also give you the history of your family.
Oral histories are a very valuable part of documenting
history. Get out your tape recorder and get those histories before they are lost