Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Romance of Rural Architecture - The Frederich Koepsell House...

Some couples dream of a magnificent Cathedral with stained glass windows glistening in the sunlight as the backdrop of their wedding ceremony.  Others dream of a sandy beach, lapping waves and the scent of sea air. Our dream is that of a mid-19th century half-timber farm house flanked by hops poles and animal pastures. This dream will come true for Karl and me on September 6, 2014. 

Specifically, it is the front porch of a fachwerk or half-timber house built in the late 1850’s by Friedrich Koepsell.  Mr. Koepsell likely apprenticed in Pomerania as a carpenter prior to emigrating from Pomerania with his wife and children. Upon arriving in Wisconsin, he would establish a farm and continue to build Pomeranian style fachwerk structures for neighbors who desired buildings in this style as opposed to an American style structure.


The skill required for this style of home is learned over the course of years. Apprenticeships would last for typically 7 years.  Afterward a term of journeyman was often required before a level of mastery was reached. The location of the timbers was predetermined prior to the erection of the walls. These timbers were numbered and documented with their appropriate location for each piece. Filling the spaces between the timbers were stucco or the more expensive brick.

A glimpse of the garden...
Think of this beautiful home as a Mr. Koepsell’s model home.   It displayed his skill very well to others in the neighboring areas. It is important to note.  At the time, this would not have been viewed as a stylish home. The architectural style of this home is that of rural Pomerania. It was an anomaly in the United States and overly ordinary in Pomerania in its day.  We, however, are exceptionally fortunate this building was saved, restored and on display for all of us to appreciate.

Visit the house Friedrich Koepsell built at Old World Wisconsin.

Douglass, M., & Perkins, M. (1978). Unpublished Old World Wisconsin Interpretive Plan Koepsell Farm.



  1. All the best to you and Karl today! Steve & I greet you from California where we are staying with my brother and visiting my mom and sisters as well. I look forward to more posts and pictures from the event!

  2. Thank you Priscilla and Steve! I am sure your wishes reached us on Saturday. It was a perfect day. I hope you are having a wonderful time in California with family!!