The Old Stone Milk House

The farm in Fitch Coulee homesteaded by Elias and Kari Borresen dates back to the 1870s, and surely the oldest building standing yet today must be the old stone milk house just north of the brick house. It would be fun to pin down that date. I’m including several photos in this post, none of them as good as I hoped to have. The first one we have seen earlier: try not to be distracted by the catch of fish!

Stone Milk House, east end, 1931

Our aunt Clara must have sensed the historic value of this building when she wrote this in 1980 (Homestead, 27): “A stone house was added next to the log cabin. It had a small tank (cement)  to pump water into to keep cans of cream and milk cold, and a drain to empty the tank so it could be refilled with cold water. The tank had piped sections to hold each can in place. Pump and windmill were outside on the east side of the house [the above view] . A large pipe connected from the pump through an opening in the stone house wall to fill the tank with water. If no wind, the water had to be pumped by hand. The stone house had windows on the west and north sides. Inside on the SW and NW corners were wooden shelves used for other storage. The door entrance was on the [south] side.”

Stone Milk House, west end, recent photo

This milk house obviously pre-dates the brick house built in 1912 since Clara places it in relation to the original log cabin. Could it go back to the 1890s or even before? And I wonder if it’s purpose was a milk house from the beginning. It clearly dates to the days of the cream separater (again see Clara’s words).

Cousin Lesley remembers “using the building to cool cans of milk. We used to pull the wagon with the milk cans inside up to the milk house after the milking was done. Dad [Odell] used to help pull, and Shep the dog would run around us in circles, happy, I suppose, that the work was over for the day.” She remembers the milk house in use until her dad put a milk house in the southeast corner of the red barn, probably in the early 50s.

Stone Milk House, north side, 1980

This last photo comes from the Borreson family reunion in 1980, and carries us back almost 140 years with the words, “Borresons Since 1873.” As I see that date, I am thinking this was a Wisconsin Centennial farm too, recognized for being in the family over 100 years. Odell and Nan’s family could confirm this. The bottom line: what a wonderful old building.

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