The Schroeder barn was built in 1902 by Jacob J. Schroeder as a wedding gift to his son Jacob H. Schroeder and his new wife, Susie Janzen. The couple lived in the two rooms at the end of the barn for eight years. Their four oldest children, delivered by Jacob's mother, Margaret Schroeder, a midwife in the Goessel area, were born there. In 1910 the family moved into a new house, and the rooms in the barn were converted to grain bins. The original cupola on the barn was one of the few in the Goessel area that survived the tornado in 1906.
The farm on which the barn stood remained in the family until the mid-1950s. The restored living quarters displays period furniture and other items and as well as sections of the original walls. The planks for the flooring in the rest of the barn were sawn from local ash and hackberry timber. This barn is an example of the type of barn built in the Goessel community. It was a common practice in the area to build the barn first, and then live in the barn while building the house.
The Schroeder barn stood three miles west and two and a half miles north of Goessel. The rectangular wood barn featured horse stalls, oat bins, and a large hayloft on the second floor.
Although the Schroeder barn was not an actual housebarn, it was common for people to build housebarns prior to the 1890s. The concept of living in housebarns can be traced to Russia, as well as Prussia and the Netherlands before that. The living conditions in the Schroeder barn were clearly seen as temporary, but the thought of people living under the same roof as livestock was not considered strange in 1902.
One of the distinctive features of the barn is the cupola, the small, square shaped structure on top of the roof Its primary purpose was for the ventilation of the barn. The cupola on the Schroeder barn now is a reproduction.
|Visit the Home Page for Kansas
A service of the Kansas State Library
|© Copyright 1999
Mennonite Heritage Museum