My first visit to this sprawling homestead was in the Spring of 2015. After pulling off an incredibly busy state highway and almost getting stuck in a very long and horribly muddy driveway, we were greeted by this typical Minnesotan farmhouse. What I didn’t expect upon that first view was to find it filled to the brim with a lifetime of memories and belongings.
Wardrobes still filled with a mixture of vintage men’s and women’s clothing, old newspapers and children’s coloring books littering the floor, farming receipts and soy bean catalogs, old farming receipts and a pair of dusty glasses.
While I often find myself incredibly moved by the locations I encounter, there was something special about this family room. From the dark mahogany piano covered in dust and the faded Mozart music books to the old television set surrounded by trash and the image of a young child and Model T. This was one of the first houses I ever encountered with so much history left behind.
It wasn’t until recently that I decided to dig into the past of this little white farmhouse. What I uncovered was a typical american story. Married in 1880, German immigrants Louis and Paulena Roos made their home in rural Minnesota. Their son William, one of seven, would make his home in nearby Lester Prairie with wife Emma and carry on the farming tradition. A love for agriculture and farm equipment would further pass on to son Reuben, who would return to the family farm after serving his country in the Korean war.
After his death in 2014, an auction was held to sell off the collection of antique cars, tractors and farm equipment he had so obviously loved and cherished throughout his lifetime. With only a year of time passing between the auction and my own visit in 2015, there is no doubt that this house was starting to decay long before it was left vacant and open to the elements.
Recently purchased by a large corporation, this house will likely meet the cold metal of a bulldozer in the coming years, if not months and is certainly in the last moments of it’s life. While always hard to accept a family home such as this left to rot, it is even harder to imagine it being completely wiped out of existence. While doubtful that I will have the opportunity to see it again before it meets it’s inevitable fate, I am thankful for these precious images and a carefully preserved Polaroid in my china cabinet to remember it by.