Thursday, August 25, 2011

75 years ago today

Over the course of the summer we have been working on the new farmshed that is located just south of the farmhouse. An interesting historic fact, the shed that we are building is replicating one that was on that every spot. Today, 75 years ago, the Wagner barn was struck by lightening at a little after 2:00 PM. By the time the Glenview Fire Department rolled out Engines #4 and #5 the barn and the attached farmsheds were totally engulfed by flames. As the official report stated, being "full of hay and grain it caught fire at once and was an almost total loss. Damage amounted to $4,500." During the course of the seven hours the GFD was at the farm "One member by the name of Bohn had his elbow on his left arm burned and was sent to the doctor at once for treatment." According to a later interview with Pete Wagner there were no livestock in the barn at the time of the fire. "Fortunately all the cows were out to pasture during the fire." At the time the Wagners had between 40-50 head. Pete also went on to say that their insurance policy with Aetna paid to have the barn replaced later that same year. However, for some reason, the attached shed were never rebuilt.

If you want to see visual signs of that fire go to the lower level of the barn and look at the foundation sill beams. Because most of the fire damage was above the sill, the beams only were lightly charred. When it came time to replace the barn the frugal carpenters just reused the burnt timbers. When we do tours, kids get a kick out of seeing the evidence of the barn fire all those years ago.