prologue-imageThe second half of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century (1890-1950) saw largely European immigrant families create in Northeastern Wisconsin a community of small dairy farms.

The earliest of these settlers followed the traders and trappers and were soon engaged in Wisconsin’s huge logging industry.  They ultimately transitioned from logging to dairy farming and were instrumental in building Wisconsin’s huge, present day cheese industry.

Machine Shed Memories is the story of just one of these small farming communities—Couillardville—and the many people who gave it life and spirit.

While parts of this story are built on historical records, most of this book recounts life in this special community as seen through the eyes of those who were given the gift of growing up in this special place on earth.

In the fall of 2002, some of the descendants of these early families of Couillardville gathered in the new machine shed at Meadow Brook Farm in Couillardville.  They brought a dish to pass and exchanged stories of their growing-up years in this special farm community.  That evening also served as the beginning  of a project to capture the memories of these families.  Each year following that first gathering a few of the neighbors were interviewed and would share pictures of their growing -up years  in Couillardville.  They talked about their families, their schoolmates, their neighbors, and what made Couillardville special for them.  It seemed, invariably, they would recall in some way how it was the “people” that made it a special place to live.  These memories were then shared at the annual Machine Shed Reunions.

While this book captures over ten years of interviews and annual celebrations,  it is understood that this is not a complete book of all the people who have lived in and been an important part of this community.   Perhaps future stories will include the memories of other individuals and families who contributed to making Couillardville so special.  While significant effort has been given to ensuring that we have the facts and names right, we apologize for any errors that may have crept into this work.

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