Use Your Imagination

Discussion in 'Mississippi River Basin' started by spinner, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member

    This hidden little valley could be a perfect place for a family to sink in roots in the early 1840s. I can see the Hinkst Family Homestead. It is at the head of the boxed valley. The rock walls block out the bitter northwest winds in the frigid Wisconsin winters.

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    There is a beautiful trout stream running through it. The stream's headwaters is only 150 yards from the building site. The stream will not freeze over in winter. There are pools deep enough to bathe and swim in. This stream would supply clean water and food for a budding family.

    The building site needs to be up tight to one of the rock faces. It needs to be far enough away from the stream to not get flooded each spring. A house with a large open hearth needs to be built. The hearth is for cooking the abundant fish and game in the area and a heat source for the family during the long harsh Wisconsin winters.

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    The family builds the rock work first before they put up the home. Each person in the family has a hand in building the fireplace and ensuring their dream of living in the wilds of Wisconsin comes to fruition. The opening to the fireplace must be large. It needs to be able to handle the great black pot that was brought with them from out east. The pot will hang in the hearth and feed the family for generations.

    The first winter was hard. The stream supplied water and fish. The snow was too deep to hunt far away from home. Fish was the main course for almost all dinners that first winter. Another way of cooking or preserving food was needed for that next winter. The family sat around the fire and brainstormed. The solution was right there before their eyes. There were extra bricks left from building the fire place.

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    The work on the smoke house began the next morning. It needed to be big enough to smoke an entire deer. It needed to be a permanent building that would hold up for years. The roof of the smokehouse needed a vent to let the smoke escape. This was the hard part. A building that could handle fire and smoke and not burn down. After a couple failed attempts the smoke house was completed. Smoked food kept for much longer and it would give them another meal during the winter other than fish.

    The homestead looks this way these days. The home either burnt down or time tore it down. The smoke house still stands on the edge of the property and to this day looks like it could smoke some tasty game. There is a heavy layer of moss on the roof of the smoke house but it still looks functional.


    The fireplace still remains. The place to hang the big black pot is out of place dangling above the open hearth. The memories of the family still exist and you don't even need to use your imagination that much to visualize it. . ..... The stream is the only thing that remains constant and unchanged.


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