Farmsteads like this used to stand within hailing distance of one another. The buildings, usually built with timber from the farm's woods, housed family, draftstock, and supplies.

The house is a classic "I-house", so named because its rectangular design was ubiquitous in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. A large garden near the house would have fed the family and resident laborers.

These farms were not "self-sufficing" - Illinois farmers always grew crops, poultry, and stock for market sale. But they did provide most of their day-to-day needs on the farm.

The house is no longer lived in. The old shed still shelters smaller machinery, but few of the homemade structures are useful in the industrial agriculture of the late 20th century.

A memoir of the change that emptied rural America

Relic Farmstead, West of Lively Grove, Washington County © D. Gorton 2001
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