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About The Omaha guide. (Omaha, Neb.) 1927-19?? | View Entire Issue (Dec. 27, 1947)
Modern Farmer Follows Lead
Of Pioneers in Building Field
New Homes Built 1
With Own Trees
And Own Labor
All sorts of steps have been
taken and schemes devised to
provide homes for war veter
ans. But it remained for a
Connecticut farmer to take a
leaf out of the 300-year-old
book of his pioneering an
cestors and build living quar
ters for three veterans’ fami
lies from his own trees and
with his own hands.
It all started because Jasper L.
Burr, 61-year-old dairy farmer who
owns a 40-acre farm nine miles
from Middletown, Conn., had been
besieged by families looking for
even a single room to rent. He was
particularly struck by the plight of
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Browning and
their small son.
Pondering their problem. Burr hit
upon a solution. Among other build
j ings on his place was a large, well
built barn. It was being used only
for storage of odds and ends. The
livestock long since had been trans
ferred from it to other quarters.
He showed the building to the
Brownings, said he believed he
could turn the loft into an apart
ment and asked them if that would
be satisfactory. The Brownings
were enthused about the prospect.
And that is how three homes
for veterans’ families literally
grew on the hillsides of this Con
necticut farm, with a fourth one
now nearing completion.
Burr, assisted by Brownirg, went
out and felled enough trees to pro
vide the lumber necessary for what
he had in mind—three apartments
in the old bam. A portable sawmill
was set up a short distance from the
bam and the huge two-foot logs
were dragged to the job just as they
were in the days of Burr’s fore
fathers. The only difference was
that he used horses instead of oxen
to cart the felled logs.
Care was taken to obtain maxi
mum board footage from each of
CUE FROM PIONEERS . . . After
searching in vain for lumber to
remodel the barn, Burr deter
mines to cut his own lumber from
trees on his farm, just as his pio
neer forefathers did. Here he cuts
into a 50-year-old tree to mark its
direction before felling.
the oak logs. Lumber for ceiling
joists, partition studding, flooring,
stairs and other uses was obtained
right from trees on the Burr farm.
The barn was 40 feet long and 30
feet wide. Like most bams, the floor
•rf he loft barely gave clearance to
horse’s he’d. Accordingly, the
first step was. o raise the floor, so
the ground space could be used as
garage and storage space.
Then the upstairs section was par
titioned off into three apartments
each containing a 10 by 15-foot living
room, bedroom, kitchen and bath.
The walls and ceiling were insu
lated with full thick batts of mineral
wool nailed between studs and joists
to provide maximum comfort in
BEFORE . . . Jasper L. Burr, 61, typical “Connecticut Yankee”
farmer of Middletown, Conn., shows house-hunters, Veteran Fred
Browning and Mrs. Browning, the sturdy barn on the wooded Burr
farm. They agree it can be remodeled to provide an apartment for
the Brownings, currently sheltered in crowded temporary quarters.
both summer and winter and to
save on fuel cost. Furthermore,
Burr knew that because the mate
rial cannot bum its installation
would considerably reduce fire dan
ger, a factor of extreme importance
in any farm building.
The walls and ceiling of each
apartment were finished with sheets
of wallboard and painted according
to a simple color scheme. Electric
cook stoves were placed in each
Windows were provided all around
and a doorway was cut in one end
of the bam. From this entry, an en
closed stairway was built to a hall
on the second floor from which ac
cess is obtained to each apartment.
The result is that the three
families now living in the con
verted structure have apart
ments that for sheer attractive
ness are seldom equalled any
where. The apartments have
magnificent views of wooded
pastures and hillsides, virtually
ail city conveniences and inter
city buses stop almost in front
of the Burr homestead.
So excellent were the results at
tained that Burr is building an
apartment 18 by 25 feet in size from
material obtained from an old
chicken house, smoke house and a
shed. Whatever additional lumber is
needed will be sawed from his own
Built on the side of a hill, the new
apartment will have space beneath
it for two automobiles. The interior
finish, including the mineral wool in
sulation, will be similar to that in
the original project carried out with
Although there is no lack of pros
pective tenants for the new apart
ment, Burr admits that “I like it so
well I may move in myself and rent
the big house.”
NO WASTE . . . The gauge on the
saw at the portable mill is set to
insure maximum board footage of
lumber from the precious logs.
Town Solves Teacher Housing
AUDUBON, IOWA.—Armed only
with an idea, some ingenuity and a
lot of hard work, this town of 2,409
persons solved its teacher housing
problem by construction of two mod
ern duplexes—and it didn’t take a
bond issue to do it.
The duplexes, which cost about
$15,000, house four teachers and
their families. At the fairyland
rental of $30 per month per family,
the houses will have paid for them
selves in 15 years.
This was the situation last sum
mer, as explained by Supt. Allen N.
Audubon had 10 men on its school
faculty of 32. Nine were married
and had families. Of the nine, Stroh
had rented a home and two others
courageously had bought homes.
That left six families, including
that of Don Stark, the high school
industrial arts instructor and father
of a new baby, faced with the typi
cal situation in small communities
—landlords considering them a
short-term proposition, no in-laws to
move in with and no hotels to live in
while watching the want ads.
Stroh learned of surplus buildings
for sale at Clarinda, Iowa, by War
Assets administration. The buildings
were barracks, formerly occupied
by Japanese and German prisoners
of war. He sounded out the school
board on buying them.
The board decided not only to buy
them but to tear them down, haul
the lumber to Audubon and build the
homes from scratch.
Lots were bought in the residen
tial district and Stark engineered
the filling of a hole on the site with
more than 2,000 yards of dirt.
The project was finished in record
time. The teachers did their own in
AFTER . . . The cozy finished apartment is a far cry from its humble barn-like beginnings. The old barn,
which in recent years had been used only for storage purposes, now provides comfortable living quarters
for three veterans and their families.
Spare Time Labor Nets Own Factory
ONSTED, MICH. — After working
during his spare time on nights,
Sundays and holidays for the past
two years, Louis A. Robin has com
pleted an 80 by 30 foot factory build
ing in his own backyard.
Robin, former Detroit metal work
er, was ditch digger, mason, archi
tect, plumber, electrician, heating
engineer and carpenter on the job.
All during the two-year construction
period he was employed on a regu
lar eight-hour shift at an Adrian,
Now that the factory is finished,
Robin will decide what to do with
it Always interested in metal items,
Robin says that he has two or three
ideas for products that he will de
velop and turn out in his factory.
During World War I Robin turned
an upstairs apartment in Detroit
into a small factory for manufac
ture of toy airplanes.
Group Restores Estate
Of Washington Irving
TARRYTOWN, N. Y.-Sunnyside,
the estate of Washington Irving, has
been restored to the condition it was
in when the famed author of “The
Legend of Sleepy Hollow” died there
in 1859. The estate was acquired by
the Historical society of Tarrytown
in June, 1945, as a gift of John D.
Rockefeller Jr. An estimated $500,
000 was spent on the restoration.
RUGGED ROUTE . . . Kyle McGrady, mailman on the “most unusual
ronte in the United States,” delivers mail in an oil drum “mail box.”
His boat, the Florence, is moored to the shore of Idaho’s Snake river,
called one of the wildest bodies of water in America. Since the level
of the Snake varies as much as 30 feet, standard mail boxes are not
practical, and oil drums and wooden boxes are utilized instead.
IN THESE UNITED STATES
Mailman Lags Letters, Supplies,
Even Tourists, Up Wildest River
LEWISTON, IDA.—Long heralded as one of the world’s
most famous mailmen, Kyle McGrady is back on the job de
livering mail by boat on the “most unusual of 103,442 routes
in the United States.”
His route, serving approximately 300 residents of Idaho’s
Hell’s canvon area, traverses the wild and ruseed reaches of
the Snake river. Service was sus
pended and McGrady’s boats were
placed in dry dock temporarily dur
ing the low water period of the
Snake, the level of which varies as
much as 30 feet.
A mailman, grocery boy and
chamber of commerce official for
the canyon area, McGrady has been
making the trip up the Snake river
since 1938. He quit a mechanic’s
job in Lewiston to take the post of
fice contract, which calls for deliv
ery of letters, magazines and par
cel post packages as well as for a
variety of other services to resi
dents of the isolated area.
Mecca for Tourists.
McGrady makes the trip up the
river in either the Florence or Ida
ho, diesel-powered river packets.
In addition to an odd assortment of
supplies and mail, McGrady also
hauls tourists. To accommodate
them, he has constructed a lodge on
the lip of the most ferocious part
of the canyon.
Vacationists from all over the
U. S. have journeyed to Lewis
ton, starting point for the spec
tacular voyage. The round trip
is 190 miles, and the current of
the Snake is so swift that it re
quires 12 hours for the trip
up and but four hours to return.
NASHUA, IOWA. — Special ac
commodations are being planned for
honeymooning couples who are mar
ried in the Little Brown Church in
the Vale, the historical small
church which was made famous by
a song written before it was built
Harry Richers of Worthington,
Minn., has purchased the former
Bradford academy property across
the street from the chulch. He plans
to erect honeymoon cabins on the
property. A photographic studio to
accommodate the newlyweds and
facilities for wedding dinners and
receptions also are planned.
The church, built in 1864, long has
been popular for wedding cere
monies. The peak was reached in
1940 when 1,549 couples were mar
The bride and bridegroom
usually ring the church bell
after the ceremony, the pastor
admonishing them to “pull
through life together, just as you
are pulling on the bell rope."
The small neat church in a pleas
ant rustic setting once served the
religious needs of old Bradford, a
town of 600 persons two miles from
here. The town died after it was by
passed by a railroad in 1868, but
the song has kept the church alive.
Attracted by the beauty of the site
upon which the church later was
built, William S. Pitts, a young vis
itor from Wisconsin wrote his
moving hymn, “The Little Brown
Church in the Vale” in 1857. He put
his manuscript away and it was
In 1864, when the church was com
pleted, Pitts, who had returned to
the town as a singing teacher, was
asked to sing a solo at the dedica
tion ceremony and he obliged with
his own song written seven years
The Snake is called the wildest
river in America. Hell’s canyon is
the deepest gorge on the North
American continent — 1,000 feet
deeper than the Grand canyon of
the Colorado. McGrady’s boats on
the trip up the river against the
current must buck and growl over
many treacherous, boulder-studded
A Tough Trip.
The boats are no plush, showy af
fairs, but they are sturdy and can
withstand the pounding of the un
merciful Snake. And you have to be
tough to fight the Snake' and
The only time Lewis and Clark
turned back during their famous
expedition was when they tried
to find passage through the can
yon. A railroad man surveying
the possibilities of a line through
the canyon came back and said,
“Impossible. The Rockies were
sissy stuff compared to that can
The trip up Hell’s canyon with
McGrady is becoming one of the
most unusual tourist attractions of
the United States, with many people
journeying thousands of miles just
to make the jaunt into one of the re
mote areas in the United States.
McGrady makes the trip twice
each week — Wednesdays and Sat
urdays. He leaves at 6 a. m. and
arrives at the lodge in time for a
hardy supper. The return is made
the next day. McGrady charges
tourists approximately $14.50 per
person for the trip, lodging and food.
Those who have seen Hell’s can
yon remember the awesome beauty
and ruggedness that held Capt Ben
jamin L. E. Bonneville spellbound
in 1831 when he paused on the brink
of a chasm overlooking the canyon
and scrawled in his journal:
“Nothing we had ever gazed
upon in any other region could
for a moment compare in wild
majesty and impressive stern
ess with the series of scenes
where the Snake river is over
hung by dark and stupendous
rocks, dominated by immense
mountains rearing their distant
peaks in the clouds.
- ARE *T)
SMALL TOWNS //
D Y I N.G M
* • , V
S MACHINES displace
■f*- labor in farming, new
rural occupations will have
to be created. Otherwise
local population losses are
That’s the thought-provoking chal
lenge to small town America from
Earle Hitch, noted student of rural
sociology, in a series of timely arti
cles starting in our next issue.
"SMALL TOWN, U.$. A"
' . ■
i By Earle Hitch
Wilderness Converted to Exotic Garden
MOBILE, ALA. — Once a tropi
cal wilderness of magnolias, moss
festooned oaks, bays and pines, the
famous Bellingrath gardens, 20
miles south of Mobile on the Isle
Aux-Oies (Fowl) river, today rank
as one of the most popular meccas
for flower lovers. The gardens, start
ed as a hobby, draw as many as
10,000 persons in a single weekend.
Stately live oaks which have stood
for 500 years and 100-year-old azalea
bushes are among the outstanding
features of the gardens. Thousands
of other azaleas, trees, shrubs,
plants and vines have been trans
planted in Bellingrath gardens from
all parts of the country.
In the midst of all this beauty is
the old Bellingrath home, suggestive
of the English Renaissance period
and handsomely built of hand
pressed ante-bellum bricks and tra
ditional iron-lace grill work.
Indians To Stage Ancient Tribal Ceremonies
SANTA FE, N. M. — Old-time
rituals and elaborate ceremonialism
will prevail as Pueblo Indians of
New Mexico stage a series of
events during January.
The Indians always hold New
Year’s Day dances, followed on
January 6 with the installation cere
monies held when the new gov
ernor of the pueblo takes office.
Each governor has a cane, pre
sented by President Lincoln.
The January ceremonials actual
ly are thanks for good fortune dur
ing the past year and prayers for
continued good fortune during the
coming 12 months.
Among the major events sched
uled during the month are the Dance
of the Sword Swallowers at Zuni
pueblo, the Eagle dance at San Ilde
fonso pueblo, the Buffalo and Deer
dances and "Old Christmas,” or
the Feast of the Three Kings.
JERUSALEM ARABS RECRUIT FOR WAR . . . Here is a general view as Arab volunteers, in uniform,
paraded in Ein Karim village, Jerusalem. Volunteers for the Arab army are pouring in from all sections of
the Holy Land for the predicted holy war against the Jews over the issue of Palestine’s partition. Arab
league military leaders were reported to have drawn up “battle plans’’ for Palestine. In the meantime, de
sultory violence continued throughout the country, with casualties mounting daily.
LIKE TO TAKE A VACATION? . . . That old cliche about a jewel in a setting of white gold seems partic
ularly appropriate when applied to Sun Valley, Ida. This is how the resort appears from the practice ski
areas on Dollar mountain. The village itself is completely self-contained, with facilities ranging from
smart hotels and many shops to warm-water swimming pools, skating rinks and a post office. Not only that,
it’s a good place to spend a few hundred dollars if you don’t mind putting your money on ice and if you
like sliding down mountains on skis.
..... — ....-. ' SMSSSRMli'Wmz'rzzz'itmsmvsfmim?'
THE PIONEER ROLLS AGAIN . . . The 10-ton Pioneer, which blazed
the original railway trail westward as the first locomotive to run out
of Chicago in 1848, is on the move again, this time on steel casters.
Focal point of the Chicago and North Western railway system’s cen
tennial celebration, the historic engine was taken from the Museum
of Science and Industry to the railroad shops where it was repaired
and repainted before being put on display. The Pioneer is a far cry
from today’s locomotive giants.
BIG CATCH FOR THE GENERAL . . . Despite the fact that Gen.
Dwight D. Eisenhower may run for President next year, the main ob
ject of interest in this picture is the fish. It’s a 37-pound Kamloops
trout, taken from the waters of Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho. The fish
was presented to Ike on behalf of the Sandpoint, Ida., chamber of
commerce by Rep. Abe McGregor Goff (Rep., Ida.) (left) and Steve
Antoncich, Seattle, Wash., sportsman.
PUFF, PUFF . . . Georg Bnm
stedt, Swedish weight-lifter, Is
shown as he pantingly displays
the style which enabled him to
set a new world’s record of 259%
pounds for the one-arm push. He
beat his own record of 255%
SO HE TURNS UP THE HEAT
... Cheta, talented anthropoid
movie actor, probably Is the first
chimpanzee ever to regulate the
temperature of his own air-condi
tioned trailer. His trainer is study
ing the effects of heat and humid
ity on animal ailments.
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