Our Yesterday House
Albin Johnson was born on August 2, 1856 in Sweden. He came to America in 1881 at the age of 25, first settling in Merrill, Wisconsin and then in Spirit, Wisconsin. He filed for a homestead and built the “Yesterday House” with his future wife’s uncle, Amandus Johnson in 1885. He married Hilma Amelia Olson in 1887. Albin and Hilma had 7 children (6 boys and a girl), the first 2 being born in the “Yesterday House”, namely: Arthur G. Johnson on February 22, 1888 and Anne Marie Johnson on March 12, 1891. In 1964 the house was purchased by Gene A. Meier. In 1973 Gene’s father Roy Meier moved the Albin Johnson log home to the Meier homestead on County YY and turned it into a museum. Until his death in 1997, Roy maintained the log home and museum. In 2003 the historic log home was moved to it’s present location on the Liberty School property. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
‘Our Yesterday House’
Amandus Johnson used the Swedish log construction technique to build this house in 1885. Unlike the well known ‘chinked’ log cabins, these were built more like a ship. Logs were carved in concave and convex forms (dove-tailed), and fitted together so that the builders did not use any form of plaster. It is estimated that lifting a single log into place would take five strong men! Thus, the Swedish log construction was a difficult process. For this reason, men from the settlement came together to build homes where families were able to stay warm in the harsh Wisconsin winters.
Liberty School was built in 1919, replacing a small school built about 1884. It was named “Liberty” in honor of the mission of World War I that ended in 1918. Richard Paul was the general contractor and most of the construction materials came from Tomahawk Lumber and Supply. Liberty School was designed to provide a healthy and comfortable environment with a classroom flooded with natural light.The 10′ high ceiling allowed for a large volume of fresh air in the room. The heating system was designed to always heat fresh air, instead of recycling stale air which caused respiratory ailments. Constantly heating fresh air, the big brick furnace consumed large amounts of 30-inch firewood pitched into the basement every summer through a chute. In the fall the basement was piled high with firewood; and often additional firewood was piled in the schoolyard. In the basement there were two toilet rooms, one for girls (with three stools) and one for boys (with a urinal and two stools). Children no longer had to trudge to the outdoor privies. Since there was no running water in the school, these toilets were provided with a flue system connected to the furnace, that made it possible to burn out the contents every summer. In the early 1940’s the school was wired for electric lights. In the 1950’s the heating system was modified, a new well was drilled, running water and modern lavatories were installed and fluorescent lights were installed in the classroom. The school closed in 1964 and has since had several owners. The building was purchased by Michael and Toni Meier in 1989. They have done a complete interior remodeling. There is a military display and a ‘Mini School Room’ in one of the hallways. The basement has separate living quarters and also houses the G.S.H.I files.
The Machine Shed
In June of 2009 with donated monies, we built a 40′ x 40′ storage shed for machinery and other items that we have and will acquire. ‘The Machine Shed’ is located south of ‘Our Yesterday House’. Inside ‘The Machine Shed’ are displays of farming, logging, blacksmithing, carpentry tools and equipment that would have been found in the area in the early 1900’s.