Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Farm Family Collects Antiques -Antique Buildings, That Is

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Farm Family Collects Antiques -Antique Buildings, That Is

Article excerpt

While collecting antiques isn't unusual, the antiques on the Luxenhaus Farm are.

Since 1970, the Hostkoetter family has been moving abandoned buildings to their farm near Marthasville in an effort to preserve the history of the area's early German settlers.

The farm is now home to 14 log structures and numerous other buildings that come from across eastern Missouri and represent construction methods and architecture from 1800 to 1860.

Lois Hostkoetter, who owns the farm with her husband, said the interest in preserving the old structures had begun with a gift from a neighbor.

"A lady brought us a porcelain coffee pot and told us `This is from the old cabin,' " Hostkoetter said. "That piqued our interest."

Soon afterward, the couple visited the Perryville farm that had the coffee pot, and the cabin was found. A few years later, the cabin became the centerpiece of what today is the Luxenhaus Farm.

The farm was part of this past weekend's Deutsch Country Days, drawing about 5,000 people from as far away as Germany and the People's Republic of China to observe how life may have been in the early 1800s.

The event, held each of the past 12 years on the third weekend of October, is the only time the farm is open to the general public.

The Hostkoetters and their daughter and son-in-law, all of whom live on the farm, have incorporated a nonprofit organization to handle the money taken in by the event and put it back into restoration of the buildings, antique equipment and tools.

Hostkoetter said the two-day event had cost about $17,000. Visitors pay $7 each to tour the farm and see the numerous exhibits and crafts demonstrations set up each year.

Thousands of hours of volunteer labor are spent on restoration of the farm each year.

Once a project is completed, however, the results can be beautiful. The once-abandoned cabin the family restored is featured in this month's Country Living, and other parts of the farm have been featured in newspapers and magazines around the world.

Buildings added in the past 23 years include a covered bridge, a former general store, a one-time blacksmith shop, a mill and numerous farm buildings. …

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