Set in Stone: Lachman house

Mystery surrounds Cuba-area’s old Lachman house

By Cynthia Scheer – Telescope News

The history of several of Republic County’s stone houses is unknown, and many locals say the people who would know anything about them are gone.

Such is the case with the stone house Margaret Lachman refers to as “the original homestead.”

The rural Cuba farmstead is located on Rock Road and features a one-room stone house with a small enclosed stairway in the northeast corner. The community’s oldest residents, including Lachman, said the house has been empty during their lifetimes.

The homestead was once owned by Margaret Lachman’s grandfather, Josef Lachman. According to land records, he purchased the quarter section on Jan. 18, 1898, from Josephene Krotz, who received the original patent for the land in December 1882. In June 1915 Josef Lachman sold the land to his son, George.

In 1910 Josef Lachman purchased land up the road a half mile. It’s the farmstead where Margaret Lachman now lives. Josef Lachman later gave this farmstead to his other son, CharlesLachman – Margaret
Lachman’s father. She was born in the stonehouse on the new farmstead in 1936 and moved back to the farm years ago.

The stone house on the original Lachman farmstead up the road is located a couple hundred yards off the road in a clearing of pasture. It lacks a date stone, and no one knows when it was built or who built it. The stone house looks nearly identical to the stone portion of the house owned by Fred and Karen Baxa, who live a couple miles away, although their home, too, lacks a date stone and a named builder.

According to 1884 land records for the original Lachman homestead, a house was located in the middle of that quarter, although it is unknown if that house was the stone house that stands today.

There was a dugout on that property that was lived in by the Anton Trecek family, according to Joan Holmberg, of Cuba. She and her brother, Bob Trecek, of Belleville, are descendants. The dugout was located between the road and the north side of the creek, she said. The Trecek family later moved to a farm a mile east of Cuba and never lived in stone house near the dugout.

One of the Trecek girls married Paul Svoboda,
according to Holmberg. Svoboda built several stone houses in the area including two stone houses located across the road from the original Lachman and Trecek dugout property. Holmberg and Lachman said their knowledge on the original Lachman property that housed the Trecek dugout and Lachman stone house is very limited.

The original Lachman property features more than just a stone house. Part of a stone cellar is several yards northeast of the house, part of the lower portion of a small stone out building built into the hillside beyond the cellar is located northeast of the cellar in a hillside, and a stone well is just east of the house. The most peculiar stone structure, though, is a nearly four-foot-tall stone fence that stretches about a hundred yards along the home site between the house and the creek just to the east. The stone fence has toppled over in some locations. It’s purpose is a mystery, Holmberg said.

The property is now owned by Gary and Debbie Sinn, of Mahaska.

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