Janna Hafer


Urban Frontier House

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12/02/15 - Randy’s vision for the front porch was to create a gathering space reminiscent of an old front porch on our new house. Therefore, we contacted our friend Gary when we were searching for old barnwood for the front porch walls and reclaimed beadboard for the porch ceiling. Our friend Gary has a business re-purposing wood and hardware from old homesteads and frequently travels to the Scobey area in northeastern Montana for just such a purpose. The Homestead Act of 1862 was enacted to accelerate the settlement of the western territory by granting adult heads of families 160 acres of surveyed public land for a minimal filing fee and five years of continuous residence on that land. In 1909, Congress passed the Enlarged Homestead Act. As a result, more than 80,000 homesteaders moved into Montana between 1909 and the early 1920’s. Montana’s weather tends to come in cycles with some years of continuous wetter weather followed by some years of dryer weather. As it turns out, many of those homesteaders were not cut out to be “dryland farmers” in Montana. By the late 1920’s, 60,000 of them had packed up and left. However, two families that must have stuck it out near Scobey, Montana were the Rowe family and the Bummer family. As a result, the barnwood on our porch came from the Rowe family barn and the beadboard on our porch ceiling came from the Bummer Place. According to the Living Building Challenge, “…the use of salvaged materials is encouraged to acknowledge the considerable value of a material’s embodied energy…” The wood on our front porch had a previous life and, oh, the stories it could probably tell!!!
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