Station 11

The agricultural townSpace for people, cows & looms

Information point:
- Oststraße 31

Agriculture as a sideline
Schmallenberg was an agricultural town: agriculture shaped life and the townscape for centuries. Until well beyond the middle of the 20th century, agriculture was pursued by almost all families as their main or sideline occupation. The middle-class farmers lived in the town and cultivated their fields outside the town. They kept cattle at and in their houses in the city. The houses built after the town fire of 1822 took these conditions into account: they were built for people and animals alike. They were used to keep cattle, store hay, house the equipment for farming and produce and store butter and milk in a separate milk kitchen. In front and behind the house there was space for dung heaps and beech wood stacks. Animal husbandry - keeping cows, goats, chickens, rabbits and pigs - guaranteed the basic supply of the households with milk, butter, eggs and meat.

Houses for people and animals
The house Oststraße 31 was built in 1822 as a five-axis, two-storey, eave-standing house on top of a quarry stone cellar that belonged to the previous building. In 1822, a minimum distance to the neighbouring building (Oststraße 33) of 20 feet (1 Prussian foot = 31.4 cm), about 6.3 metres, was prescribed, so that each house had a wide courtyard on one side, which could be used for agricultural purposes. On the other side the houses were placed close to the neighboring property.
In the front part of the mostly two-storey houses were the living rooms. Behind them was the part for the cattle. Here the walls of the basement were not made of oak beams, but of stones. Only the living quarters were built with a cellar underneath: potatoes and turnips were stored in these cellars. The hay was stored in the attic: in addition to storage, it also served as heat insulation in winter. Between the stables and the living quarters was the cattle kitchen, which had a water connection and a sink. The cattle kitchen also housed the "pig or shed pot", in which pig feed was cooked or sausages were brewed during slaughter, or laundry was cooked. In the milk kitchen, located on the north side of the house, the supplies were stored and the milk was processed.
There was a close relationship to the animals with which people lived closely. For years they were fed, milked, cared for and finally slaughtered. At night the cows were chained in the barn, the liquid manure was collected in the manure trough. The barn was mucked out several times a week and the excrement was collected on the dung heap, which provided valuable fertiliser within half a year. In the 1950s, cattle were only tied up and led to pasture on the road, as car traffic had increased considerably. The care of the animals, especially the milking of the cows in the morning and at noon was a woman's job, as was the processing of the milk. If there was a cow in the house, the family did not suffer poverty; not even in the meagre war and post-war period.
Farming was also a sideline activity. Farming and harvesting were mostly done by hand until well into the 20th century; it was not until the 1950s that the tractor was introduced. Economic upswing, growing purchasing power as well as automation and changes in food production led to the abandonment of part-time farming during the 1960s. At the beginning of the 1970s, there was no longer any part-time farming in Schmallenberg.

Cows were a natural part of the street scene until the 1960s: Here on the street "Auf der Mauer"

Here we see a typical sight in front of the Amtshaus, up to the 1960s

Cows outside the rifle tent

Floor plan of a house as it was built in 1822: People lived in the front, animals in the back

Wooden tub washing machine, which was also used for scalding sausages during slaughter

Grain harvest near Gleierbrück

Grain harvest near Eslohe around 1920.

Haymaking in Burbach

Cut straw is carried on the head over the bridge, 1934 at Altenhundem

Community shepherd tending the cows

Shepherd at work

Pig herds near Hallenberg

Wood removal in Schmallenberg around 1910