This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Innovation in church heating, 1907 style

Hmm...yes, we've seen this place before.  It's St Joseph's, the Catholic church in Pierz, Minnesota.  You're saying to yourself, "Good grief why, AGAIN?"
Vell.  Vee haf a nifty new mystery!
When you gaze at the pic, what part seems odd to you, or out of place?  Theres a church on the left, a school on the right, and a smokestack on the ground in the middle. Wha...?
That weird chimney is something cool that's probably totally forgotten, except for two obsessive researchers 105 years later who happened to pick up on a stray thought in the "Pierz" news in the Little Falls Herald. 

(For the life of me, I can't find the first article I saw that mentioned it, but St Joseph's tried an innovative idea for heating the place--a separate, central, underground plant with duct work running to the church, school and rectory. At the time, the church had no basement, btw.  That first article was a sort of editorial, mentioning civic mistakes--ideas that people originally thought would work, or would save money--but which cost considerably more in the long run.  That heating scheme lasted one winter because it didn't work at all. Damn).  The Historic Places application we published awhile ago states that the basement was excavated to create a winter chapel, but it was also cuz the church needed a furnace UNDER (not beside) the area to be heated.


And here's a bonus article about the church, since you made it this far ☺

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