From the Elmshorner Nachrichten (news),
Friday October 18, 1996
From Sparrieshoop to the States
By Carsten Peterson, Klein Offenseth-Sparrieshoop
In the U.S. state of Iowa about half of the approximately four million (translator's note: We have only 2.8 million!) inhabitants consider themselves descendants of Schleswig-Holstein immigrants. In the predominantly agricultural region live Stojohanns, Clausens and Petersons in towns like Holstein, Moorland or even Schleswig. In the small town of Manning almost every second resident is from Schleswig-Holstein. For years now the heritage group calling itself the Heritage Foundation of Manning, has wanted to build a Low German farmhouse.
The Outdoor Museum of Moltsee was helpful to the Americans in their search. The search ended in Klein Offenseth-Sparrieshoop: The farmer Claus Hachmann and his mother Paula wanted to part with their thatch-roofed farmhouse with some of the half-timbering and the recessed entrance still in good shape. The historic landmark in the Ausstrasse (name of street), which was not expressly under historic preservation protection, had fallen into disrepair. The owner could not finance the minimum restoration costs of 500,0000 Marks.
The Hachmann family offered to donate the house to the village. After much discussion, the village council decided against the offer. According to Mayor Gunter Wischmann: "We would very much like to have kept the house. But the village could not afford to restore it. There was also no possibility for the community to make use of it." Claus Hachmann received permission to demolish it.
The family was skeptical of private buyers who wanted to restore the old building. "I was of the conviction that it should be available to the public," said Claus Hachmann. In the plans of the German descendants in Iowa he saw the realization of his views. "It will be a pleasure to many people there," said the donor, who had also not sold the house to an "American millionaire." Also he and his mother were pleased to give their house to an area where some of their relatives live. Those relatives gave considerable support to the Sparrieshoop family in the time after World War II.
With the cooperation of the employment project in the area (county) of Pinneberg the house was dismantled. Before that students from the construction engineering school in Eckernförde measured and wrote up a reconstruction plan for the Americans. At the end of August, the last of two containers left the area. In the meantime the rest of the house had arrived in Manning. The mayor there, as well as other community members, had already seen the house in Sparrieshoop. The community (Manning) is bearing all costs of the project.
The entire roof framework, ceiling rafters, the doors and framework, as well as the dilapidated windows as patterns and also foundation stones and all stones that were not in cement, were shipped. A plow, a harrow and a wooden roller also arrived in the container. The project received sharp criticism from the Society for the Preservation of Farmhouses. They maintain that the farmhouse in question could better have been kept up and remained as a historic house in the village. That organization sees the reconstruction from parts of the original as a pseudo-restoration, because the version in America would have to have much new added to it. "To build a replica in Iowa would have been more honest. What is happening here has absolutely nothing to do with historic preservation. Klein Offenseth has been swindled out of its coat-of-arms house," according to Ulla Mathieu of the Society.
(Translated by Don Ruhde, Iowa Falls, Iowa, on February 4, 1997)