The Andrew Peterson farmhouse gets a facelift
The Carver County Historical Society located in Waconia, Minnesota working to preserve what may have been a primary source for Vilhelm Moberg's research for the Emigrant book series.
June 18, 1881: “Today, we sheeted the west side of the kitchen. The boys hoed corn in between the rain showers.” Andrew Peterson, Swedish immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1850, and informed Vilhelm Moberg's research for his Emigrant book series.
Tuckpointing the farmhouse
Saying the house got a facelift via a tuck, is a tongue-in-cheek joke, but in all earnestness, the stones and bricks were more than sagging. After 138 years, they were falling off, and in some places stone mason Patrick Sieben could insert his arm through the stone foundation.
Historic preservation is not easy, nor is it cheap. Part of the problem is many of the old techniques and crafts are no longer used or practiced. This leads to using modern methods that may do further damage. A perfect example of this was the damage done by well-meaning people on the 1880 Chaska brick kitchen addition.
Photo 1 is part of the Chaska brick addition by Andrew Peterson. The brick corner is at the southwest part of the addition. The brown on the right side of the photo is part of the main house. The bricks are falling away from the house. The damage grew over a long period of time by a malfunctioning downspout.
It is amazing that something so simple can cause so much damage. The previous owner, using modern resources, poured cement over the spot to brace the bricks. The same cement was used to replace the missing mortar, which made the problem worse. Cement is stronger than the simple mortar used in the 1880s, so as the cement moved with heating and cooling, it further cracked the older mortar, moving the bricks further out of their original location. In photos 2 and 3 you can see some stones have pulled away from the foundation. Also note the width of the wood—18 inches!
Photo 4 is the same corner following repairs. The repairs included resetting the foundation stones and re-tuckpointing. The original mortar was very yellow, which indicated use of clay found only in Chaska, Minnesota and used to make the iconic Chaska bricks. To ensure exact repair work, the mortar was carefully chiseled out and reused. This method not only is a cost saver, it ensures an identical match for the building.
Patrick completed small repairs on the smoke house as well. The smoke house (photo 5) now joins the north Peterson barn for having restoration complete. We now have two buildings complete, with three more to go.
Wendy Petersen Biorn
Executive Director of Carver County Historical Society
The Carver County Historical Society is located in Waconia, Minnesota, near Minneapolis and just two miles from the Historic Andrew Peterson Farmstead. Peterson kept a 48-year diary which documented his immigration from Sweden to the United States in 1850, until two days before his death in 1898. His diaries were used as a primary source for Vilhelm Moberg research for the Emigrant book series. In June 2019 the CCHS received a $250,000 challenge grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation. If the CCHS raises $500,000 in three years, the Jeffris Family Foundation will add $250,000. Donations are very much welcomed. The Historic Structures Report and pledge forms are available at www.carvercountyhistoricalsociety.org. Follow the rehabilitation process on the Peterson blog: www.carvercountyhistoricalsociety.org/wpcchs/andrew-peterson-farmstead