Thursday, March 21, 2013

Trimborn Farm

View of the entire farm from the bluff above the lime kilns

Milwaukee County is probably one of very few to have a full farm inside of a county park.  That's what Trimborn Farm is.  It's on the national register of historic places and is a state historic site as well.  The buildings are open from May 15 - October 15, but you can use the park grounds all year round for free.  It's just a picturesque spot to do some hiking or view lime kiln if you have never seen them.  From approximately 1847 to 1899, the property was a lime producing farm, but later went on to convert to dairy farming, as was popular with so many places in Wisconsin at the time.  You can read more about the property's and family's history.  You can see a map of the grounds at the county parks website.

Parking is kind of difficult as there is a round driveway and some room to park on the shoulder of the road a bit farther down Grange Road.  As long as you are there, take a walk down the paved path along the street to the Jeremiah Curtin House, which is also on the property and has been conserved.  It's a great example of a home built with stone and lime.  You can read the brief history on a sign outside the property, which tells you that Jeremiah was born in Detroit of Irish immigrant parents, then came to Milwaukee in 1837 to join his mother's family.  They moved into this typically Irish stone house in the 1840s. He pursued languages and graduated from Harvard in 1863.  HIs command of Russian won him a position in the US Legation in St. Petersburg in 1864, thus launching his forty year world wide career as linguist, translator, ethnologist, folklorist, and diplomat.  This house is also open to the public during warmer weather, by appointment only.

Lime kilns where dolomite was wood fired
Stone barn

Threshing barn

Jeremiah Curtin house
If you're still interested in the history of the lime industry in Wisconsin, you might want to take a drive to neighboring Ozaukee county to see the Lime Kiln Park in Grafton.  You can read a brief history of that site before going, so you know what you are seeing.  Of course the huge lime kilns there take the limestone production to a completely different level.  It's very interesting to see.
Lime Kiln Park in Grafton

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