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Raab Farmstead

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1858 and later. 11665 Bemis Rd., 6 miles east of Manchester

The Raab land and farmstead have been in the family since 1850. Like many of the families in this area, the Raab family is of German origin. The farmland includes part of a small lake, Lake Columbia. The farm buildings are sited to take best advantage of the scenic location. Built in 1858, the farmhouse is set back from and faces Bemis Road. The portion visible from the road is constructed of dressed stone collected on the site. As is typical of many farmhouses, various additions were made. Sometime before 1890, the first addition of a brick masonry chimney and kitchen was built. It was followed by the addition of a wood-frame porch and storerooms.

In its prime, the farm complex included the farmhouse, big barn, horse barn and carriage house, windmill, smokehouse, granary, ice house, corn crib, tool shed, and privy. Most of these structures remain on the site today. Together, they exemplify all the buildings needed to run a sufficiently viable farm to satisfy a regional or national market.

The farm layout is linear, a configuration more efficient for greater mechanization in farm operations following the Civil War and into the turn of the twentieth century. The buildings are aligned along an axis road that jogs around the big barn. Its northern elevation faces Bemis Road. The inscription under the gambrel roof, “1913, Lake View Farm, T. A. Raab,” identifies the modifications to the barn on this date. Its southern and smaller half, which consists of a barn constructed before 1900 that was moved to the site in 1913, is older. The northern half was added to create what now stands. The structural beams and columns of the older half are of hand-hewn white oak obtained from land that the Raabs owned in nearby Freedom Township, and the flooring is wide planking. The tongue-and-groove vertical white pine siding was sent by railroad from northern Michigan to nearby Manchester. The barn is a three-level bank barn in the German tradition. The lower level was for housing animals; the middle level, made accessible by the earth ramp to threshers and other machinery, for winnowing and storing grain; and the upper level was for storing hay and straw.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Raab Farmstead", [Manchester, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 153-154.

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