Work underway at new Farmstead Living History Museum here


After years of planning, months of fundraising, and groups of dedicated volunteers donating their time; work on the Living History Farmstead just west of Vevay is in full swing.

Having met their match for the grant from the Jeffris Foundation; work on the restoration of the farmhouse at the site is ongoing; and funds continue to be raised to cover the expense of completing the restoration of the hay press barn that will form the centerpiece of the museum property.

“What we’ve basically done is that we’ve removed all of the 20th Century from it,” Martha Bladen of the Switzerland County Historical Society said. “Anything that was an improvement or modification for 20th Century way of life has been removed, so we’re back to what the original structure was.”

Martha Bladen said that just seeing the original structure tells everyone so much about the way of life when the Thiebaud family lived on the property.

“As we discover different things, that puts us in discovery-mode for other things,” Martha Bladen said.

For example, when the ceiling in the kitchen was taken out, workers found a big opening in the roof area that showed that a chimney had gone through there. Workers then broke through 8- to 10-inches of concrete that had been poured on the kitchen floor; and once that was removed, the hearthstones of the fireplace were discovered along with some laid up stones in the back.

“We’ve been able to discover where there are doors now that once were windows,” Martha Bladen said. “We’re just seeing what the house was built like to begin with.”

Martha Bladen said that workers are also getting to see the house as a “skeleton”, because the siding has been taken off, revealing all of the structure of the house. By seeing things in this state; workers are beginning to see the thought and planning that went into the construction of the home.

“It wasn’t like ‘I think I’ll add a window here. I think I’ll do something there’. It was a very planned, methodical construction. Very well done,” Martha Bladen said.

A group of visitors from Switzerland came to visit two weeks ago; and those guests toured some homes in the area, including the Roxie House and Market Street and the Musee de Venoge on Highway 129; as well as the farmstead.

“They were saying how similar the whole upstairs floor is to the way houses are built in Switzerland,” Martha Bladen said. “So we’re still seeing that Swiss connection to things.”

The October 3rd meeting of the Switzerland County Historical Society will also be at the site.

“There’s just a lot of structural things going on that aren’t a part of the preservation; but they are things that are going to make the preservation last.” Martha Bladen said.

For more information about the Farmstead, call the museum at 427-3560.