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The Fred and Rose Werre Homestead

By Mary Ann (Werre) Lehr, daughter

Northeast of Lehr, North Dakota
Photographs by Michael M. Miller, September 2012
Family Photographs and photo captions provided by Mary Ann (Werre) Lehr
, Lehr, ND


A sod house was first in 1900. The house was moved from Lehr (by steam engine) and a summer kitchen was built at that time. The summer kitchen was used for all cooking and canning with the old fashion range (cook stove) using cow chips, wood scraps, dead trees, etc.

The primary objective was to keep the main house cool for sleeping, relaxing and company. During harvest season the thrashing crew also ate in the summer kitchen. The summer kitchen has two rooms. The first room you entered was for preparing all meals, baking bread, pies and kuchen. The second or (back room) was for eating at the big round table.

The summer kitchen was also the honeymoon cottage for my parents, Julius and Emelia (Zimmerman) Werre in the early 1920s and again for my uncle Ed and Alma (George) Werre in the late 1920s.

The summer kitchen was used for all butchering purposes – making all the sausages, head cheese, liver sausage and frying “out” all the lard – which was used for baking and frying foods. We also had a 50 gallon oak barrel which was filled with the hams and bacon to cure in the brine solution of garlic, salt, and etc. until spring when it was smoked and ready to eat.

We did all our canning of fruits, vegetables, and jams in the summer kitchen, as well as butchering the chickens, geese, etc. and canning them before freezers.

The summer kitchen was always used on wash day – heating the water in boilers on the old range. The old gas engine was used for washing.

A hole in the wall of the summer kitchen was put in for the exhaust (blue smoke all over) the constant noise was terrible. In 1947, my dad bought a power plant (wonderful) everything became electric – the washing machine. The power plant was big so we had lights in the barn and an electric iron was great. Which was all we did in the summer kitchen.

In the winter of 1947-1948, our family went to Texas and the hired man lived in the summer kitchen. The summer kitchen was used constantly. Washing continued in the summer kitchen until 1970. The canning is still done there. Many wonderful memories.

Homemade soap was always made in and outside the summer kitchen. The lard was melted inside and then the lye was added and constantly stirred outside otherwise it would take your breath away!

Summer Kitchen

Old type coffee can
Collection of tins
Old-fashioned angel food cake cover
The front room of the summer kitchen. Note: the lovely cupboard with thread spools cut in half for knobs to open.
A plate from the Grenz store dated early 1950s
Root beer extract and Halvah (a candy treat) tin
Cream can with long metal rod and plate at end to mix and get the test of butter fat. My dad's name is on a brass plate on it: Julius Werre, Lehr, ND. You were paid on the "high of the butter fat." The large "M" stood for Mandan Creamery.
Two water pails. The fresh pail was fresh drinking water. The less fresh water was used for cooking.
Cupboard made by Julius Klien (family friend)
Kerosene stove with baking oven on top of burner. The silver square is a toaster for the kerosene stove.
A wall of old kitchen items of my mom.

Werre Homestead

Summer kitchen and shed fancy (Mooned) out house
Tri-County Tourism Alliance members visiting along with some local folks
The front of the summer kitchen. Notice the strips of cloth (which you would shake before going inside) to keep flies away.
MaryAnn (Werre) Lehr talks about a book competed by Kallie Lehr on the entire Werre Homestead
This is the certificate David got from Roger Johnson (North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner) for having the centennial farm
My parents' first radio. Which I managed to get repaired and it works great.
This box contains my dad's 1st camera and the attachments to develop them himself.
Fred and Rose Werre
The end table was made by Julius Werre using a leaf from the moon oak table for the top
I'm wearing the old head scarf
The old-fashioned head scarf
This scarf was so large it could be used as a cape
A black sequined dress of Emelia Werre's worn in 1946
I'm wearing the heavy sheep wool coat
A coat made of sheep wool. It is very heavy with a high collar to keep out the cold.
A piece of sod from the sod house. Very heavy and most interesting.

Family Photographs

They lived in a sod home until early 1900 - when a home was moved from Lehr and the summer kitchen was built.

Fred and Rose Werre, 1990 - 1936. Picture about 1919. Homestead Farm 1898 - 1936.
1917 - Grandma Rose and children: Maggie in the doorway, Ray and Martha
The wonderful summer kitchen. Note: Small tree on the left. Those same trees are still there 100 years later.
1944 - View of home and summer kitchen; the shade in between the house and the summer kitchen was great, the threshing crew enjoyed cooling off after dinner in the summer kitchen.
The house and summer kitchen. Note: Wind charger on top. The wind charger gave us light in the dining room and power to the radio.
Adeline (1928-1994) and Mary Ann (born 1939) - little girl. Julius (1900-1979) and Emelia (1905-1991) Werre. Picture taken 1936 - 1950.
Summer kitchen in 1959 in use as always
David and Kallie (Mahar) Lehr and daughter Emelia
New barn added in 1942
I have the papers of the home purchase. The home was purchased in Lehr and moved to the homestead by steam engine.
Wilbur and Adeline (Werre) Quatier
Eugene, David, and MaryAnn (Werre) Lehr
Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
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