In the 1890s, a wave of immigrants from Scandinavia came to Madeline Island to work in a lumber camp, but before long they established subsistence farms. Among them was Charles Kron, a Swede of Finnish-Swedish heritage. His wife, Olivia, joined him in 1899, and between 1905 and 1910 the Krons acquired this farm. Family tradition holds that Charles built this barn himself, but the previous owner’s son, Gust Dahlin, may have assisted him, for Dahlin was reputedly a highly skilled carpenter. Composed of three sections, the barn used a tongue-and-groove and dovetail joinery technique that distinguishes Scandinavian log barns. First the builder cut the sides with a broadax or adze to produce flattened surfaces. Hewn walls are easier to make weather-tight. He then cut a groove the length of the underside of the log and shaped the top to fit, so that the grooved side rests on a rounded, convex edge. The full dovetails testify to the builder’s woodworking skills. Over the years the logs warped, requiring masonry chinking where moss or fabric originally caulked the joints.
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