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Farm buildings


The barn as a detached building developed late in the Dutch building style - only at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. In the general homestead layout the barn was always situated "behind the house", that is, in the direction of water flow, with the roof ridge or the gable towards the main road. It should be assumed that initially it was constructed of balks forming an integral part of the whole Dutch building situated under one roof. They were always wide-front buildings. Although no example of this type of building survived to the present day in Mazowsze, we can say with a large measure of certainty that such objects existed, and this is supported by oral sources. Nonetheless, we can find a large number of objects that were erected in the second half and especially at the end of the 19th century. These buildings are characterized by a tenon beam - post structure planked with vertical boards. These barns do not differ in terms of their craftsmanship, structure, or material from the objects of the same type located in the neighboring or even distant areas not covered by this colonization. This could be taken as evidence of full assimilation and interpenetration of barn building traditions in the entire Mazowsze region.

The preserved barns have either a threshing floor and a storage space or two storage spaces, and their volumes are bigger than that of similar buildings located in the areas bordering Mazowsze. This fact indicates that the Olęders either had better crops obtained from better, more fertile soils or that individual farmers owned larger acreages of cultivated land.

The barn walls had a tenon - post structure, which was reinforced with angle braces and struts, and rested on large fieldstones (placed under the individual carrying posts). From the top, the structure was bound with a top plate, which in turn supported the ceiling joists. There were no ceiling joists over the storage spaces because the straw and hay were piled all the way to the roof. In this case, only the heads of ceiling joists were installed in place of the full joists. The rafter-collar beam or rafter truss work rested precisely on these elements (tenon and mortice and tenon joints). The partition walls of the storage room (planked ring or stud structure) were connected to the posts with bevel or dovetail joints, which on two sides supported (smith-made strap hinge) a double-leaf batten gate. All joints were frequently reinforced with wooden dowels. The planking boards were connected to the faces and were nailed to the angle braces and ties. The floor of the barn was usually made of mud (in storage area) or from a clay - straw mixture (glinobitka) in the threshing floor area.


Pig farming was not practiced on a large scale by the Dutch. For the most part, cows and horses were kept for sale, while pigs were raised essentially only for subsistence. Therefore, the farmers built no separate buildings for them. Cows, horses, and pigs were kept together in the farming section, adjoining the residential part of the building. However, there were exceptions to this rule. They are associated with the Polish type farm where the home was separated from the farm buildings; the homestead was built on a square or a rectangle layout and included several buildings. A very interesting example of this type of farm building had survived until recently in Wilków nad Wisłą no. 16. The layout of this farm, which was built in the interwar period, breaks many principles of the Dutch homestead organization. It consisted of two buildings, and although they were situated according to the rules - on a man-made hillock, their position with respect to the river's current direction was switched. A small home was situated on the downstream side of the homestead and faced the river with its gable; whereas, a pigpen-barn complex faced the river with its ridge and the house with the gable and was located on the upstream side of the homestead. The pigpen-barn was covered with one double-pitched, rafter-collar beam roof. The walls of the pigpen had a ring structure and were made of sawed pine logs; whereas, the barn walls had a tenon-post structure, and was constructed in the same manner as the above-mentioned barns.

Other farm buildings

A homestead also included buildings of smaller volume. The later the homestead was founded and the more it diverged from the traditional Dutch arrangement, the larger the number of the auxiliary buildings. During the initial period of colonization, settlers did not build any additional farm buildings because they were subject to damage by frequent floods. When the danger of flooding was minimalized as a result of erection of higher flood-banks, settlers built auxiliary farm buildings as the need arose, such as: coach house, shed, woodshed (or one building that had all these functions), and a detached cellar. All of these buildings, with the exception of the cellar, were made primarily of pine or poplar wood and were constructed according to two types of design: a ring structure with logs connected at quoins with dovetail joints with protruding log ends, or had a tenon-post structure, which was planked and covered with a low thatched (rye straw) roof. The coach house was often added at the gable wall of the building, on the farm side of the homestead.

In Mazowsze, the oldest preserved detached cellars date from the beginning of the 20th century. Cellars of this type were built only on farms with large-scale vegetable and fruit production. They were designed for storing larger quantities of agricultural produce than the cellars located directly under the house, and were usually built of fieldstone or brick that was bonded with a lime or cement-lime mortar. A solid, bordered, and single-leafed door, which was installed in the longer wall, led to the cellar's interior and could be reached by small stairs. The space had a semicircular vault that reached up to 2 m.

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