Monday, January 27, 2014

Quick Pic – Occident Flour

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

In the fall of 2012, Joann and I were in a very small town looking for a school. I didn’t have an address, and from the picture I had seen, the school seemed like it should be in town rather than out in the country. Before we found the school, we found this old advertising sign.

Occident Flour was produced by the Russell-Miller Milling Company. In 1901, they had two small mills in North Dakota which produced 225 barrels per day. They were in the heart of the hard wheat district of the northwest, the section conceded by all experts to produce some of the finest wheat grown anywhere in the world.

By 1938, they were producing 16,000 barrels of flour and 600 tons of feed per day, and had reserve storage for 17,000,000 bushels of wheat at one hundred and forty elevators in North Dakota and Montana.

In the 1950’s, F.H. Peavey & Company purchased Russell-Miller Milling and its elevators and flour mills. Then in 1982, ConAgra, Inc. purchased the Peavey Company.

ConAgra Mills still sells Occident Flour, but advertising such as this is sadly a thing of the past. If you drive through small towns, watch the sides of brick buildings and you might stumble on one of these old ads yourself!

Happy Shunpiking!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The D. H. Day Barn

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

In May of 2007, Joann and I made our first trip to Michigan. Our goals for the trip were as many lighthouses as we could fit in (to be covered in another post), the cherry blossoms, and the Old Mission Peninsula.

Along with the above goals, we both wanted to see the D. H. Day barn. Each of us had seen pictures, and that was all it took for us to know that we had to visit for ourselves.

David Henry Day was born in Ogdensburg in upstate New York in 1854. His father died at a young age and they lost the farm they had there. He came to Glen Haven, Michigan as a clerk for the Northern Transportation Company in 1878 with $240. He began buying land and soon established a booming lumber company and bought land for his farm.

He established a 400-acre farm that he called “Oswegatchi” after the New York community where his father was born and the Oswegatchi River where he had played as a boy. The farm buildings were built in the 1880’s and 1890’s and included the Queen Anne style house, the barn, a hog barn, a creamery, and a bull barn.

The barn is 116 feet long with French curves. The original barn was a two-story dairy barn and did not include the ornate silos standing today.

In 1889, Day married Eva Ezilda Farrant, and they took up residence above the General Store that he had built in Glen Haven. She preferred to live in town, so he walked the 3 miles to his farm each day to oversee operations and check on his prized animals.

By the 1920’s, the farm had an immense fruit orchard containing 5,000 apple and cherry trees. There was also acreage for growing corn and hay to feed his 400 hogs and his 200 pure-bred Holstein cattle.

He dreamed of living in the house on the farm one day, but was always overridden by his wife, who wanted to continue to live in town.

When Day died in 1928, he was 76 years old. Newspapers said Michigan had lost “King David of the North.”

The barn is listed as one of the “50 Most Significant Structures in Michigan” by the Society of Architectural Historians. It lies within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but is privately owned.

At least once a day an artist or photographer pulls up along the road to study the farm and photograph or sketch the ornate buildings in their rural setting.

If you ever get to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, be sure to drive M-109 to view the farm for yourself. It’s gorgeous!

Happy Shunpiking!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hyde Chapel, Iowa County, Wisconsin

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

One of our favorite things to do is to drive through the rolling countryside south of Arena, Wisconsin, to visit what was once known as Mill Creek Valley. And, while there, one of our favorite things to photograph is the historic Hyde Chapel, which was originally known as the Mill Creek Church.

Hyde Chapel is a small, one-room white clapboard building nestled among the rolling hills and wetlands surrounding Mill Creek. It was built in the Greek Revival architectural style in 1861 by the English and Welsh settlers of the area. The church was formally founded in January, 1862.

It appears that the newly formed congregation struggled in its efforts to grow the membership as there are no church records for roughly a decade starting in 1863. In 1874, a committee was appointed to secure both a preacher and a Sabbath School teacher. These activities created new interest in the revitalization of the church. It was painted and carpeted, and an organ was donated.

In 1878, on New Year’s Day, the church was rededicated as the Mill Creek Congregational Church. In 1880, there were 42 registered members and by 1884, membership totaled 53.

At some point, the church became known as the Hyde Congregational Church and by 1940, membership had dwindled to 22 members representing 12 families. Many of the descendants of the early pioneers had either joined churches in surrounding areas or moved away. In April of 1957, a decision was made to disband the congregation and close the church doors except for occasional funerals.

In 1966, Tom McCutchin, then a Hyde resident and president of the Hyde Cemetery Association, found out that the church was for sale. So UW wildlife ecology professors Robert McCabe and Clay Schoenfeld, who both trained with famed conservationist Aldo Leopold and who both owned recreational land near the church, purchased the building. Clay’s father and two uncles had each served the Hyde Congregational Church as ministers. With the help of Tom McCutchin, Bob McCabe and Clay Schoenfeld formed the Hyde Community Association (HCA).

The newly formed HCA held their first workday on Sept. 24, 1966. The men worked on scraping and painting the outside of the church while the women mopped and scrubbed the inside of the church. Window panes were replaced, worn pews were waxed, and a mason from nearby Ridgeway promised to chink the foundation.

On Dec. 18 of that year, forty members and guests turned out for the business meeting at which HCA became the legal owner of the church. The meeting was accompanied by carol singing and a table full of Christmas cookies and coffee.

There was also some reminiscing by older members who had attended church services there. Lance Dodge, the oldest member of HCA at 86, who had owned the local blacksmith shop and who was one of the men who discovered Cave of the Mounds in 1939, shared that the church at one time had two stoves, one on each side. The men sat on one side of the church and the women sat on the other side. The meeting was adjourned after the singing of an old hymn, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” which contains the phrase, “the fellowship of kindred minds.”

Ruth and I have visited Hyde Chapel many times in every season of the year. And we are grateful for the “fellowship of kindred minds” of the Hyde Community Association, and for its dedication to the preservation of this wonderful historic church, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Happy Shunpiking!

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