Nordstrom-Dragani

History

The barn featured in this profile is located on the quarter-section of land which was homesteaded by Peter Nordstrom in 1905. Peter came from Sweden to the Revelstoke area in British Columbia in 1904. Peter heard of nearly free land in Alberta and made plans over the 1904-1905 winter to homestead in Alberta. You can read more about Peter and the process he went through to acquire land and build a homestead at the end of this barn profile.

In 1927, the foundation was laid for the barn. This barn was intended to replace the original gable-roofed barn which had been built some years earlier on a different site on the farm. In 1928, the upper part of the new barn was built out of fir lumber which had been ordered from British Columbia. The barn was built using frame construction and balloon framing. Peter Nordstrom hired Philip Nelson as the main carpenter for the barn and Gustaf Lundgren as an assistant. Gustaf had immigrated to Canada in the same year as Peter’s wife, Kristina.

The new barn was built with the use of hand tools only as there were no electric tools in those days. Albert Nordstrom, Peter and Kristina’s youngest son, liked to tell the story that his Dad and the other carpenters had to sharpen their handsaws every night to keep them in good working condition. Building the barn required a lot of skilled manual labor, but the builders knew what they were doing! The final product is a fine example of handcraftsmanship. It still stands strong and steady today, albeit still showing signs of weathering.

This barn brought a critical new piece of equipment to the Nordstrom farm – the hay carrier. Peter, and later his son Albert, liked to use three sets of slings when loading and unloading a wagon of hay. When a wagon was being loaded, one sling would be laid along the bottom of the wagon and covered with a layer of hay, then another sling would be laid on top of that layer and loaded with hay, followed by the third sling and a final layer of hay. When unloading the wagon, the slings would be attached one at a time to the hay carrier and then pulled up and into the loft by a team of horses or a tractor. It would take three trips of the hay carrier to unload a full wagon. When Albert took over the farm, he would often use his Ford tractor to pull the slings up and into the loft instead of a team of horses like his father always used.

If you wish to see a video of a hay carrier system in action or learn more about hay carriers please click here and scroll to the “Hay Carrier System” section. Finally, you can see a picture of the Nordstrom’s hay sling in action at the end of this profile’s photo section. Wayne Nordstrom fondly remembers not only operating the hay sling with his father, Albert, but also playing in the barn’s loft as a kid with his siblings when the chores were complete. Nothing like the smell of fresh hay in the hayloft!

Many different animals were kept in this barn over the years. When Peter first started homesteading he used oxen for his farm work but soon switched to horses. After the barn described in this profile was built, Peter not only used it to house his draft horses, as he no longer had oxen, but also his milk cows and some of the other farm animals. When Peter had the barn, he ran a mixed-farm operation with milk cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens. Except for the brief period of time when Peter used oxen, all his farm work was done with horses. He never did own a tractor.

Albert Nordstrom, Peter’s son, took over the farm in 1952. From that point onward, most of the farm work was done with tractors and associated equipment. The farm was sold to the Dragani family in 1974. Domenico and Maria lived there until the fall of 2013. The Dragani family mostly used the barn for storing hay and other needs related to their beef cattle operation.

Nordstrom, Wayne. Personal communication. 19 Jul. 2017.

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This frame shows the southern face of the barn.

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This frame shows part of the foundation on the southern face of the barn. Peter Nordstrom built the foundation for this barn in 1927 and, with shaped pieces of wood inserted into the concrete, wrote the phrase “1927 PN,” except the “P” is backwards.

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This frame is of the southern face and eastern side of the barn.

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This frame shows the eastern face of the barn. The original barn used to stand in the foreground of this photo. You can see more of that original barn’s foundation at the end of this photo series.

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This frame is of the eastern side and northern face of the barn. Notice the hay hood and hay track. The hay would have been loaded into the barn from this side.

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This frame is of the northern face of the barn. The large loft doors slide down diagonally to open.

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This frame is of the northern face and western side of the barn. Notice the two large wooden cupolas. These cupolas are much larger than many of the other cupolas on other barns in this database.

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This frame shows the stalls at the southern end of the barn. The corner in this frame is the south-western corner of the barn

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The stalls inside this barn run north-south. This is unique because many barns have a single walk-way running the length of the barn with stalls lining the walk-way.

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This frame shows one of the stalls at the southern end of the barn.

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This frame shows the stall adjacent to the stall in the previous frame. These stalls were used primarily for milk cows and, when needed, draft horses.

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This frame shows the same stall as in the previous frame, but also shows the south-eastern entrance to the barn. Between the single stall and the barn wall is part of the north-south walk-way that traverses much of the length of the barn.

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This frame shows the north-south walk-way in the barn. This walk-way lets individuals travel between the stalls at the southern end of the barn and those at the northern end

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This frame shows the east-west walk-way adjacent to the stalls at the southern end of the barn. The walk-way provides access to the stalls (for feeding purposes) that are on both sides of the walk-way. Hay and other feed was thrown down through a hole in the loft floor located above the far end (the western end) of the walk-way.

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This frame shows some of the stalls used for milk cows in the northern half of the barn. The stalls were also used for draft horses, when needed.

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This frame shows the western side door as well as some of the stalls in the northern part of the barn. The side door and the one opposite it (on the eastern wall) are large, sliding doors. There is a large open walk-way in between the two doors, which is also visible in this frame. Note the wooden pegs on the vertical posts. These served as hangers for the horse harnesses.

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This frame shows the stalls near the northern wall that were used for milk cows and draft horses. An east-west walk-way between these stalls and the northern wall of the barn provides access to the stalls for feeding purposes. There is a hole in the loft floor located above the western end of this walk-way through which hay and other feed can be thrown down. A staircase to the loft is located just to the right of this frame.

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This frame shows the southern face of the barn inside the loft and the roof of the barn.

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This frame shows the hay sling and part of the hay carrier system near the southern face of the barn.

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This frame shows the barn’s roof and part of the northern face of the barn. The fact that this barn still has the rope for the hay carrier system is unique.

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This frame shows part of the concrete wall from the west side of the original gable-roofed barn that Peter Nordstrom built in this farmyard.

nordstrom barn_1928_barn contsruction_peter nordstrom on roof

This frame shows the construction of the barn in 1928.

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This frame shows the barn after construction in the late 1920s.

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This frame shows the barn being repainted in 1948.

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This frame shows the hay carrier in use about 1959.

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This aerial photo of the farm was taken in 1955 from the south-east.

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This aerial photo is of the farm in 1972.

Location

52.874861, -111.625802               SE 14-45-12 W4

Characteristics

Barn Condition: Fair

Construction Date: 1927/1928

Features: Two cupolas, hay hood, hay carrier, hay track

Roof Shape: Gambrel

Paint: Red

Decorations: The phrase, “1927 PN” is stamped into the foundation on the southern face

Roof Covering: Wooden shingles

Siding: Wooden shiplap

Foundation: Cement

Additional History on the Property

Nordstrom Family History

Nordstrom, Ab. “Mr. and Mrs. Peter Nordstrom History”. Sedgewick Sentinel: A History          of Sedgewick and Surrounding Districts. 1st Ed. Sedgewick: Sedgewick Historical                Society, 1982. Print.

Additional information can be gleaned from Peter and Kristina Nordstrom’s biography, written by their grandson in 2014. Portions of that biography are shown below. Please click the tiles to enlarge them and, if needed, open the enlarged tile in a new tab to zoom in.

Nordstrom, Wayne. Per and Kristina Nordstrom – Their Story – From Sweden’s Trails to               Canadian Farm. 1st ed. Edmonton: Wayne Nordstrom, 2014. Print.

One thought on “Nordstrom-Dragani

  1. Ardyn says:

    Such a great project! What beautiful pictures of the old family barn – can’t believe there are still pictures of the barn’s construction.

    Like

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