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History moving down the road ...

On July 19th, a landmark barn was slowly moved from the spread owned by Terry Buchert to Tom Harty’s place. Several generations of people have grown up with the 30’x60’ barn as a sight recognizable from a long ways off from every direction.

In 1906, Joseph Froslie brought his wife, Anna Peterson, to the sparsely-populated Haakon County area. They homesteaded a spread north of a community that in 1907 would become the city of Philip.

Froslie built and used other out-buildings, but nothing big enough to really do the job. By 1936, Joseph had put together $700 and, with the help of his neighbors, erected the barn. “The design was pretty much the way the barns were in those days, and that is what grandpa went with,” said Cathy Fiedler. “It was set on a concrete foundation and had a dirt floor. For many, many years it still had the original wood shingles.”

The couple raised a daughter and two sons on their ranch. The family of five milked 25-30 head of dairy cows twice a day in that barn and stored loose hay in the loft. The building was used as a base of operations for most of the ranching activities.

Eventually the couple’s daughter, Lorraine, married Dale Fiedler. The young couple worked the land with Joseph and Anna for many years, eventually taking over operation of the spread. In 1948 or ‘49, lightning struck the barn. Joseph and Dale had to re-shingle the roof and re-inforce the sides of the loft, but the barn stayed standing for all to see for miles around. In ‘66 a storm, reported to have had baseball size hail stones, pounded through the region. Again, the shingles had to be fixed, as well as the windows, but the barn remained.

The Fiedler family grew. Ralph, Morris, Karen and Ross grew up spending a lot of their youth in that barn. They milked at least 15 cows and raised chickens there. They would park the hay wagon below the big doors and use pulleys to lift the hay to the loft. The barn was often used for calving. Part of the barn had a room where an old fashioned cream separator was used. Another part of the barn had a brooder coop with a heat lamp to help raise baby chicks.

At any given time, the children could find cows, calves, chickens, eggs, bum lambs, and fun in the barn. They and neighbor children would even play basketball in the loft; though the open loft doors created a very definite out-of-bounds line.

In 1969, son Ralph Fiedler and his new bride, Cathy, moved to the place. Though she had grown up in Philip, she “learned to be a country girl very fast.” Dale and Lorraine had moved from the ranch to Milesville. The newlyweds soon began their family, having their first daughter, Lynette, in 1970 and their second daughter, Sherry, in 1974.

Three tornadoes, one before 1969 and two after, ripped through central Haakon County. A chicken coop, garage, tractor shed, and two grain bins were destroyed or simply disappeared. The barn still stood strong.

On August 10, 2003, the Fiedlers left to live in Sturgis. Their two daughters live in Spearfish and there are five grandchildren. Cathy Fiedler has a lifetime of memories connected with the barn, “I thought that barn would never not be a part of that place.”

Terry Buchert bought the property to add to his own spread and does not live on the old Fiedler place. With no real use for the barn, he sold the building to Tommy Harty, who had the barn moved to his father’s land. Now with two barns, more of their horses and cattle can be put indoors in extremely bad weather.