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Lutze Housebarn 'Workdays' have begun April 22nd, hope to see you there/here!Lutze Housebarn

Getting to the Lutze Housebarn
Historic Detail

Watch for an official Virtual Reality walk-thru experience soon of the National Register Lutze Housebarn!

November 2017 saw us putting the finishing touches on the final corner of the Lutze Housebarn's main barn foundation.  That means the entire perimeter of the main building was structurally complete and sitting on a solid foundation!!  Now on to the ~1890 'addition' foundation and timberwork on the west end.


The Lutze Housebarn was built in 1849 by Gottlieb and Fredericka Lutze.  The building is dual house and barn under one roof in the Old World German Tradition.  This three floor timber structure with brick fruit cellar, is on the National Registry of Historic Buildings, listed as nationally significant, and is being considered as a National Landmark.  It is one of three known buildings of its kind in the United States, according to the Director of the National Parks Service.  It was also listed in 1994 as one of the ten most endangered buildings in Wisconsin worthy of preservation by the Wisconsin Trust for Preservation.

The Lutze Housebarn is part of an Old World courtyard style farm yard that is representative of the tradition of the entire Centerville area.  The half timber style Housebarn is unique for its 'fechtwerk' construction and its size.

The family lived on the east end and the livestock on the west end of the building.  Large animals were housed on the main floor as well as the cooking activities.  As heat rose, it helped to warm the smaller animals and bedrooms on the second floor.  The third floor was used for grain in the earliest days, then straw and hay storage in the 1880's, both acted as insulation.

Centreville Settlement, Inc. is restoring the building to the 1880ís.  The majority of the work has been done by dedicated  volunteers.  A goal of the restoration is not only preservation of the building but the preservation of the building skills and techniques needed to construct the original building.  The Lutze Housebarn restoration is the only known project that invites visitor and volunteers to hands-on learning of timber framing, stone masonry, joinery, timber shaping, interior preservation, artifact cataloguing, etc.. 

Visitors have participated in an archeological dig, documenting for the National Archives, documenting and stored artifacts, and are learning heritage orchardry.  They have worked with original tools shaping timbers or placing stones.  They have participated in the camaraderie of a work day as the settlers may have experienced, and enjoyed many a communal farm style lunch.

Primary Lutze Housebarn restoration goals for 2012 were:

  • Conclude sill timber replacement and wall posts in east end wall

  • Cut joinery and install replacement vertical timbers first floor east end (several removed in 1930's)

  • Establish structural support for east (gable) end in order to replace a rotted horizontal timber midway up

  • Repair and stabilize foundation and arched cellar as needed, primarily east end

  • Figure out technique and equipment needed for replacement or stabilization (with lifting) of interior sill beams

  • Continue and expand artifact shelving and storage improvements in the third level

And for 2013 we hoped to:

  • Install siding on the north wall

  • Install nogging staves as infill in the east wall

  • Rip and hew replacement sill for the north wall of the 1890's addition from white oak log

In 2017 we:

  • completed the perimeter stone foundation and sill beams of the original building

For 2020 we look to:

In 2022 we:

  • finished stone masonry under the north end of the west side addition

  • decided approach and proceed on window and door finish carpentry

  • reduced damaging UV light coming through south windows

Leaving for 2023:

  • replace a 2nd floor timber/joist in the addition

  • replace a vertical post in the 2nd floor south side that was removed in about 1930

  • jacking up the center of the building which is now lower than the now new and solid perimeter foundation and sill beams

  • repaired window framing materials, focusing on the exterior so we will be ready for siding 2024

And for 2024:

  • install replacement or repaired sliding doors on the 1890's addition

  • Replace three swinging doors and associated trim work

  • Replace brick floor in kitchen area

  • install wooden rain gutters to match the original

  • install siding

We hope you can come and work with us, share your talents, learn new things, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing what a difference you can make!!  For street address and directions, click here.


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