Stories provide a link to our cultural foundations and allow us to gain an understanding of a way of thinking and living beyond our day-to day life.
It is at this level, that we wanted to create an app that would connect a user to the Hutmacher site.
We identified seven different storylines that tell the overall story of the Hutmacher Farmstead. Each story line adds depth to understanding the significance of the site and its historical context.
While the stone and clay buildings may appear to us as totally unique, 100 year ago the Hutmacher farm would have been considered ordinary homestead farm. Each of the buildings had one or more functions that fit into the rhythm of life on a homestead farm.
The story of the buildings tells about how homesteaders were able to take whatever materials they had at hand to build a farm and a life on the open prairie.
It probably seems odd to have technology and earthen buildings in the same sentence but it really is the case. The homesteaders who build these types of structures did not have benefit of a computer aided design program. What they did have was over 100 years of cumulated experience in how to build structures out of native materials that would withstand the elements.
The newest building on the site is 60 years old and some are close to 100 years old. These buildings were built to last. As the original homesteaders began to die off the knowledge of how to care for and maintain these buildings died with them leading to the deterioration of the buildings on the site.
This is the story of how the site was recognized as one of the last remaining homestead farms with a complete set of original buildings and the effort to restore the buildings.
Interviews with family members who grew up on the Hutmacher Farm provide personal stories about life on the farm.
It is the story about what drew people to build a farm in the middle of nowhere. It helps set the historic context of the site.
The Homestead Act gave away free land but a family had to live on the land for 5 years to claim it. This requirement meant that all these individual homesteaders had to live in isolation.
Imagine arriving on your homestead claim with nothing around you but open prairie. You need water, shelter and food. Not every one survived this kind of challenge.
This is the story about the people who met this challenge and won the struggle and in the process build a better life for their children and grand children.
The Hutmachers were part of an ethnic group known as German Russians.
This is the story of how Germans were invited to immigrate to Russia and help turn Ukraine into the “Breadbasket” of Europe.
How they fell out of favor and found their way to the plains regions of the United States.