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Michigan Family Farms and Farm Buildings

Landscapes of the Heart and Mind

Hemalata Dandekar

Publication Year: 2010

Thoughtfully documenting the voice and emotions of many who might otherwise remain unheard, Hemalata Dandekar provides in-depth accounts and insights, underpinned by quietly rigorous analysis, about family interactions and the perceptions, understandings, and memories of family members . . . a tribute to the indomitability of the human spirit as an enduring force in sustaining farm life on the Michigan farms. ---Anatole Senkevitch, Jr., Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan Michigan's family farms form the backbone of the state. One need only see the Centennial Farm signs that dot the sides of the state's country roads to understand that. Hemalata Dandekar shows in her new book just how connected those family farm buildings are to the families that inhabit them. Eight family-farm case studies display farm buildings' relationship to the land they sit on, their function on the farm, the materials they're made with, the farm enterprises themselves, and the families who own them. Photographs, plans, elevations, and sections of typical, exemplary traditional farm buildings show the aesthetic and architectural qualities of those types of buildings across the state. The ways in which the buildings serve the productive activities of the farm, shelter and nourish the people and livestock, yield a living, and enable the aspirations of farm people are shown in the words and photographs of the farmers themselves. The buildings form a window into the lives of Michigan's family farms and into the hearts and minds of the people who have lived and worked in them their entire lives. Hemalata C. Dandekar is head of City and Regional Planning at California Polytechnic State University. She specializes in urbanization, urban-rural linkages, rural development, and gender and housing. She developed her love of Michigan farmers and farm architecture during her years as a student, professor, and then director at the Urban Planning program of the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-11

The compelling draw of a traditional farm landscape began for me as a teenager in Michigan where I first encountered great red barns floating over a sea of late summer crops. Ahigh school exchange student in fourth year architecture in my native India, I was living with a family in their Frank Lloyd Wright–designed prairie...

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pp. xi-13

I am grateful to the University of Michigan and Arizona State University for providing an academic home and research support over many years. Michigan Council for the Humanities grants in 1986 and 1988 enabled in-depth field visits to farms. A Michigan Department...

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pp. 1-6

The appeal of a traditional Michigan farm landscape is universal. Farmhouses and barns, tall against expansive fields, assert a strong presence both graceful and evocative. By their form and their materials, the buildings convey integrity and an intimate connection with...

The Lower Peninsula

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pp. 7-21

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Part 1. Around Ann Arbor

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pp. 9-23

The growth of Ann Arbor and surrounding cities exerts pressure: increased property taxes, rising land costs, and urbanites’ objections to the everyday sounds and smells of farm life. It also offers opportunity: reliable salaried income from city jobs, access to universities...

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Chapter 1. The Raab Farm

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pp. 11-36

It is a serendipitous meeting. It occurs on an initial foray in the late summer of 1986 driving around the country roads of Washtenaw County visiting one Centennial Farm after another. My student assistant Dan and I are learning to recognize which farmsteads retain...

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Chapter 2. The Lutz Farm

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pp. 37-60

It is 1984. The Ann Arbor Farm Tour is visiting the Lutz family farm. It is my first encounter with Bill Lutz. My mother is visiting from India, and the tour seems like a good way to show her the countryside. 1 We pack into my little Honda Civic and wind our way to the...

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Chapter 3. The Wing Farm

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pp. 61-78

On our way home during the summer of 1986, after a long day driving in the country west of Ann Arbor seeking the perfect farmstead, we spot a beautiful barn literally on Ann Arbor’s doorstep. Located just outside the western edge of the city, the large, gable-roofed, old...

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Part 2. South Central Michigan

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pp. 79-93

Within commuting distance of the city of Jackson, the pioneer Crawford farm, with copious barns and an elegant farmhouse, is home to another strong farm woman. Retaining the buildings and land of a once prosperous farm,...

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Chapter 4. The Honeywell Farm

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pp. 81-97

At the Centennial Farm Association’s annual meeting in 1988, Mable and Glenn Honeywell, sister and brother, have on display artifacts used in traditional farming. They collect everyday farm tools on their Centennial Farm in Branch County, one of Michigan’s southern...

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Chapter 5. The Crawford Farm

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pp. 98-108

I knew Kay for many years before I discovered that she grew up on, and had inherited, the Crawford farmstead, with its beautiful set of traditional barns and an impressive Victorian brick farmhouse. Kay was secretary of the Urban Planning Program at the University of...

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Part 3. Elsie, the Dairy Capital

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pp. 109-123

The two farms presented here—the Cobb farm in Elsie and the Young farm outside Bannister to its north—portray earlier periods. They provide a human snapshot of the transformation of farming in mid-Michigan from subsistence to regional and shed light on interrelationships...

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Chapter 6. The Young Farm

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pp. 111-125

John Young came to Gratiot County from Summit County, Ohio, with a group of friends and relatives of Pennsylvania Dutch origin. They had German names such as Betzer, Halteman, and Leddick. He was probably in his early twenties. On May 6, 1878, he bought 40...

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Chapter 7. The Cobb Farm

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pp. 126-140

Mrs. Jean Cobb is president of the Michigan Centennial Farm Association, petite and dignified, a knowledgeable representative of the Michigan farm community. I meet her at the association’s annual meeting, where I am presenting a talk on Michigan farm buildings to...

The Upper Peninsula

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pp. 141-155

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Part 4. Crossing the Bridge

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pp. 143-157

The UP is a world unto its own where one can encounter an Old World culture of decent, polite people with strong families and allegiance to their region. The close family ties, networks, and support enable survival and the ability to cope. The UP is for those with stout...

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Chapter 8. The Klaus Farm

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pp. 145-153

We happen upon the Klaus farm as we are searching for the Swagarts, who were friends of Clarence’s parents Ida (Young) Hammond and Charles. They rented places in their home to hunters for overnight stays during hunting season. Clarence remembers visiting...

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Chapter 9. The Barn on Dafter Road

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pp. 154-162

The beauty of the Upper Peninsula and my fascination with barns leave me with one of few regrets about actions not taken in my life. It was not buying a barn on the road to Dafter. I saw the barn on June 30, 1988, on my first full day in the UP. After a long drive from Ann...

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Part 5. Mines and Farms

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pp. 163-177

The first farm family discussed here is of French Canadian origin and made the long trip by water from Quebec to Lake Linden. Next comes a cluster of three families of Finnish origin, two that made their homes in copper country and a third that settled on the

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Chapter 10. The Rheault Farm

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pp. 165-181

Early in the morning on the Fourth of July, 1988, we drive through the town of Lake Linden on our way to meet Mr. Reuben Rheault and his wife Margaret. Bootjack Road winds around from the city of Lake Linden, east of Houghton/Hancock, and along the shore of...

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Chapter 11. The Hanka Farm Museum

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pp. 182-189

Along a narrow and overgrown gravel road, with trees towering over my tiny, first-generation, manual transmission, white Honda Civic, navigating occasional logs to reach the Hanka Farm Museum, I am afraid I am not on the right road. A small sign some miles back...

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Chapter 12. The Johnson Farm

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pp. 190-209

We come upon the Johnson farm as we drive along Misery Bay Road.1 We encounter it heading south out of Houghton/Hancock on U.S. 26 at the town of Toivola. Intrigued by the name, we turn right, heading west toward Lake Superior. But we do not get to Misery Bay...

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Chapter 13. Irene and Harold Vuorenmaa

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pp. 210-226

In 1982 the Vuorenmaas were featured in a documentary film titled Finnish American Lives by Michael Loukinen. Aired on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), it came to my attention six years later. A Finnish-origin, three-generation, American family living on a modest...

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Chapter 14. Marcia and Harold Bernhardt

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pp. 227-233

Leaving Ironwood, we drive east on our way to the Iron County Museum in Caspian, just south of Iron River. It is reputed to be an important assemblage of original examples of log buildings built by early settlers. It is late in the day by the time we arrive, just before it...

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Chapter 15. The Wilburn Olsen Barn

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pp. 234-244

The Olsen family of Gaastra is of Norwegian origin. In 1988 the farm is one of few in this area on the Centennial Farm list. Its striking, aluminum- clad barn standing white against freshly cut farmland catches our attention. Several islands of very big rocks dot the fields...

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Chapter 16. The Paramski Farm

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pp. 245-248

Mrs. Sharon Paramski’s maiden name is Kania, a Polish origin name. She is the daughter of the family that Kania Road, a short road leading south from the highway M-69, is named after.1 We stop by her farm as we drive east on M-69 through the town of Crystal Falls.2 It...

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Reflections and Conclusions

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pp. 249-257

The stories in this volume address the relationship of Michigan’s farm buildings to the land and farm enterprise, conveying a landscape of the mind, of practicality and efficiency. Photographs, plans, elevations, and section drawings of typical traditional farm buildings...


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pp. 259-268


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pp. 269-271

E-ISBN-13: 9780472027033
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472051052

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2010