Funke’s Pigsty / Funkes Schweinestall

A Double Eye-catcher / Doppelter Blickfang

photographed and written by two bloggers in two languages / fotografiert und geschrieben von zwei Bloggerinnen in zwei Sprachen

1. Pigsty Door, Klein Reken

While traveling in Germany this past April, I spent a day with my friend Ule in the little village of Klein Reken, in the rural province of Munsterland. Being born and raised in America where the built environment is not very old, I was captivated by Klein Reken’s traditional half-timbered architecture – especially one well-worn, deserted building I saw when we strolled through the village. As we walked around the structure, I took picture after picture, honing in on peeling paint, patched brick and rusty locks, wondering about the curtains in an upstairs window. Ule said she was drawn to the place too and had noticed it even before she moved to the town. She too had photographed the venerable building, delighting in the structure, the textures and the muted colors.

After I got home Ule and I talked about collaborating on a post about the old building. As we worked together more ideas surfaced and the post grew, so we decided to split it into two: this post includes old photos from the town archives, two of Ule’s photos, twelve of mine and a bit of local history. Next time we’ll show you the results of a photo exchange, where we each chose photos from the other person’s archive to process in our own way.

Our posts are different – you can see Ule’s post here.


Während meiner Deutschlandreise im vergangenen April verbrachte ich einen Tag mit meiner Freundin Ule in dem kleinen Dorf Klein Reken im ländlichen Münsterland. Ich bin in Amerika geboren und aufgewachsen, wo die Bebauung nicht sehr alt ist, und war fasziniert von traditioneller Fachwerkarchitektur in Klein Reken – besonders von einem baufälligen, verlassenen Gebäude, das ich beim Bummeln durch das Dorf gesehen habe. Als wir um das Gebäude herumgingen, machte ich ein Bild nach dem anderen, wobei ich mich in abblätternde Farbe, geflickte Ziegel und rostige Schlösser vertiefte und mich über die Vorhänge in einem Fenster im Obergeschoss wunderte. Ule sagte, sie sei ebenfalls von dem Ort fasziniert und habe es schon bemerkt, bevor sie in den Ort umgezogen sei. Auch sie hatte das Gebäude fotografiert und war begeistert von der Struktur, den Texturen und den verblichenen Farben.

Nachdem ich zu Hause angekommen war, sprachen wir über die Zusammenarbeit an einem Beitrag über das alte Gebäude. Während wir zusammenarbeiteten, tauchten weitere Ideen auf und der Beitrag wuchs, so beschlossen wir, ihn in zwei Teile aufzuteilen: Dieser Beitrag enthält alte Fotos aus dem Archiv des örtlichen Heimatvereins, zwei von Ules Fotos, zwölf von mir und ein bisschen Ortsgeschichte. Das nächste Mal zeigen wir euch die Ergebnisse eines Fotoaustauschs, bei dem wir jeweils Fotos der anderen Person ausgewählt haben, um sie auf unsere eigene Weise zu verarbeiten.

Unsere Beiträge sind unterschiedlich – ihr könnt den Beitrag von Ule hier sehen.

2. Funke’s Pigsty; photo by Ule
3. The pigsty and a neighboring house; photo by Ule

The worn brick and wood were mute reminders of the village’s farming past; indeed, Ule said villagers called the building “Funke’s pigsty” – for that’s what it had been. No one keeps pigs in the middle of the village anymore, but clearly someone was still providing minimal upkeep to the building. Doors were shuttered, a brick wall was roughly patched with concrete, and many coats of paint were evident. I wondered why the old half-timbered structure continued to settle into place essentially unchanged, while the village around it grew more prosperous. In my country a structure like this would have been torn down decades ago, or perhaps converted into a chic restaurant.

Der abgenutzte Ziegel und das Holz erinnerten stumm an die bäuerliche Vergangenheit des Dorfes. Tatsächlich, so Ule, nannten die Dorfbewohner das Gebäude “Funkes Schweinestall” – denn so war es gewesen. Niemand hält mehr Schweine in der Mitte des Dorfes, aber offensichtlich sorgte immer noch jemand für den minimalen Unterhalt des Gebäudes. Die Türen waren mit Fensterläden verschlossen, eine Mauer war grob mit Beton geflickt, und viele Anstriche waren zu erkennen. Ich fragte mich, warum sich das alte Fachwerkgebäude im Wesentlichen unverändert weiter festsetzte, während das Dorf um es herum florierte. In meinem Land wäre ein solches Gebäude vor Jahrzehnten abgerissen oder in ein schickes Restaurant umgewandelt worden.

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My friend Ule said she would find out more about the history of the place. She did, and the resulting glimpse into rural life is a real treasure! Here’s her friend Kurt, reminiscing about the building:

Meine Freundin Ule sagte, sie würde mehr über die Geschichte des Ortes erfahren. Sie tat es und der daraus resultierende Einblick in das ländliche Leben ist ein wahrer Schatz! Hier ist ihr Freund Kurt, der sich an das Gebäude erinnert:

“Even in my childhood this was an old house of poor construction, but it always looked well maintained. At that time a family lived there, whose children I often played with, in the yard behind the house when I was allowed to accompany my grandmother there for a visit. In the yard there were chickens, also cats, which were never allowed in the house, at the most, just outside on the windowsill.”
At that time there was no toilet, no water in the house, and they had no stable, because the father of the family did not work as a farmer, but earned his livelihood in mining in the Ruhr area, like many men after the completion of the railroad in 1877. In fact, the poor village came to a little modest prosperity through these jobs for the first time.
Kurt remembers well the year 1955, when the Mühlenweg (Mill Road) got its own water supply. He was able to watch the home owners at work digging the trenches for the pipes themselves, since he was home with the measles at that time. This event was just right for him as a remedy for boredom.
Thereafter, his family did not need to pump the water out of the well, which was especially a relief on the weekly bathing days when the zinc tub was filled, into which all the family members – one after the other in the same water – climbed for thorough cleaning.  Only later did Kurt’s family get the first proper bathroom on the Mühlenweg, tiled and with a bath stove – luxury! Such luxury had never been seen in the miner family’s house next door.

“Schon in meiner Kindheit war das ein altes Haus von ärmlichem Zuschnitt, das aber immer gepflegt wirkte. Damals wohnte dort eine Familie, mit deren Kindern ich im Hof hinter dem Haus oft gespielt habe, wenn ich meine Großmutter zu einem Besuch dorthin begleiten durfte. Im Hof gab es Hühner, auch Katzen, die niemals ins Haus durften, allenfalls draußen auf der Fensterbank liegen.” Im Haus gab es damals keine Toilette, kein Wasser, keinen Stall, da der Familienvater nicht als Bauer arbeitete, sondern im Bergbau im Ruhrgebiet seinen Lebensunterhalt verdiente, wie viele Männer nach der Fertigstellung der Eisenbahn 1877. Tatsächlich kam in das arme Dorf durch diese Arbeitsplätze zum ersten Mal ein wenig bescheidener Wohlstand. Kurt erinnert sich gut an das Jahr 1955, als der Mühlenweg eine eigene Wasserversorgung bekam, er konnte den Hauseigentümern, die selbst die Gräben für die Leitungen aushuben, bei den Arbeiten zuschauen, weil er zu der Zeit mit Masern zuhause bleiben musste. Da kam dieses Ereignis als Mittel gegen die Langeweile gerade recht. Danach musste seine Familie das Wasser nicht mehr aus dem Brunnen pumpen, das war besonders an den Waschtagen und den wöchentlichen Badetagen eine Erleichterung, wenn die Zinkwanne gefüllt wurde, in die alle Familienmitglieder – einer nach dem anderen in dasselbe Wasser – zur gründlichen Reinigung stiegen. Erst später bekam Kurts Familie das erste richtige Badezimmer am Mühlenweg, gefliest und mit Badeofen – Luxus! Solchen Luxus hat das Häuschen der Bergarbeiterfamilie nie gesehen.

Ule tells me that in the late 1950s, the miner’s family moved to a house in the new Antoniussiedlung on the outskirts of the village. The half-timbered house was sold and converted into a pigsty, henceforth it was called “Funke’s pigsty.”

Ule erzählt mir, dass die Bergmannsfamilie Ende der 1950er Jahre in ein Haus in der neuen Antoniussiedlung am Rande des Dorfes gezogen ist. Das Fachwerkhaus wurde verkauft und in einen Schweinestall umgewandelt, von nun an hieß es “Funkes Schweinestall”.††††

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Ule dug up more village lore, learning that in years past there were a number of farms in the village, some run as a sideline business, with only one cow.  The cows were driven in the morning over the mill path to the pastures behind a railway embankment. Since they left “traces” on the way, the mill path came to be known as the Kudrizkistraße (Cowshit Path). Kurt said that During World War II, a village resident addressed a field postcard to his family with “Kudrizkistraße” with no further location information – and it reached its destination. Once two children, Martin and Heinz, made a joke of throwing swine manure on the cows. And forty years later, Martin recalls being punished by the farm servant Alwis with a slap on the neck he handed them while he rode past on his bicycle. Martin added that otherwise, Alwis was very fond of children and never averse to a joke.

Ule grub weitere Überlieferungen aus dem Dorf aus und erfuhr, dass es in den vergangenen Jahren eine Reihe von Bauernhöfen im Dorf gab, von denen einige als Nebendienst betrieben wurden und nur eine Kuh hatte. Die Kühe wurden morgens über den Mühlenweg zu den Weiden hinter einem Bahndamm gefahren. Da sie unterwegs “Spuren” hinterließen, wurde der Mühlenweg als Kudrizkistraße bekannt. Kurt sagte, dass ein Dorfbewohner während des Zweiten Weltkriegs seiner Familie eine Feldpostkarte mit der Aufschrift “Kudrizkistraße” ohne weitere Ortsangaben zugesandt habe – und dass sie ihr Ziel erreicht habe. Einmal machten die beiden Kinder Martin und Heinz einen Scherz, indem sie Schweinegülle auf die Kühe warfen. Und vierzig Jahre später erinnert sich Martin, wie er von dem Hofdiener Alwis mit einem Schlag auf den Hals bestraft wurde, den er ihnen reichte, als er mit seinem Fahrrad vorbeifuhr. Martin fügte hinzu, dass Alwis ansonsten sehr kinderlieb und keinem Witz abgeneigt sei.

Ule hoped to find an old photo of the building in the Reken archives but there weren’t any because in those days, photography was reserved for more imposing buildings, like churches, inns and schools. As Ule says, “no house of poor people or pigsty was worthy of such attention and expense.” However, a set of evocative old photos was procured from the town archive. You can see some below.

Ule hoffte, ein altes Foto des Gebäudes in den Archiven von Reken finden zu können, aber es gab kein Foto, denn damals war die Fotografie für imposantere Gebäude wie Kirchen, Gasthäuser und Schulen reserviert. Wie Ule sagt, “war kein Haus von Armen oder Schweinestall einer solchen Aufmerksamkeit und Kosten würdig.” Aus dem Stadtarchiv wurde jedoch eine Reihe anregender alter Fotos beschafft. Sie können einige unten sehen.

The lack of photographic records of the pigsty was remedied once Ule moved to the village. She noticed the building right away, and watched it grow a little more crooked every year. It’s not surprising that she found it to be a compelling photography subject. I’m glad she made sure we wandered past it on our walk that day. I had to apologize for leaving everyone else waiting while I kept taking pictures – it was hard to stop.

Nein, es gab keine Fotos von unserem Schweinestall … bis Ule ins Dorf zog. Sie bemerkte das Gebäude sofort und sah zu, wie es jedes Jahr ein bisschen schief wurde. Es ist nicht verwunderlich, dass sie im alten Gebäude ein überzeugendes Fotomotiv gefunden hat. Ich bin froh, dass sie dafür gesorgt hat, dass wir an diesem Tag auf unserem Spaziergang daran vorbeigegangen sind. Ich musste mich entschuldigen, dass ich alle warten ließ, während ich weiter fotografierte – es war schwer aufzuhören.

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We are planning another post, this time with a few photos of each other’s that we will process our own way. Stay tuned!

Wir planen einen weiteren Beitrag, diesmal mit ein paar Fotos aus dem Archiv der jeweils anderen, die wir auf unsere eigene Weise bearbeiten werden. Bleib dran!



59 comments

  1. Pingback: Funkes Schweinestall – Funke’s Pigsty – Ule Rolff

    • Thanks Hedy, it was good to spend time in a small village instead of a city, and to roam around with a native. The collaboration was rewarding….and we’ll be doing more. 🙂

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  2. What a great collaboration, Lynn. I love decaying buildings as photography subjects, and you have some wonderful captures here. How great that you were able to dig up some lore about the place as well. Those lace curtains are a well-worn reminder that the place was once occupied. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful the two of you, and although you both love the decaying details (who does not love them!!!) the general impression is quite different. Yours is – as a result of the decolered surfaces – mre like memories of long long passed times. Ules is more vivid present.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Who doesn’t love those buildings, that’s so true, Gerda. Some of our photos were processed almost the same, and some were done differently. Now we will see what happens when we play with each other’s photos. You are an inspiration for that. 😉 Thank you for viewing and commenting!

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    • Bitte, Don. We’ll take a little break, and then be back together with a different kind of post in a week or two. Thank you so much for commenting, I’m very glad you enjoyed it. Those were great stories that Ule found, weren’t they? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Lynn and a nice collaboration with Ule! It was interesting for me to learn about Klein Rekens history and see it through yours and Ules eyes. Again very interesting your view on details and Ules view. I think they are a bit different, but that makes it more interesting right. Maybe Ules point of view is more on structures, while yours is on structures and colors too. Now I understand what you told me about the different perceptions while you both photographed and I understand very well why you couldn’t stop 🙂 Lovely details! What a fascinating building and history. I understand what is so fascinating about it for you. It really is this old house, which looks like an old stony friend, something vivid. I am looking forward to your upcoming posts. I am curious what you both created 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Almuth! Actually the day we took that walk, Ule did not photograph the building. She has photographed it before a number of times so I was on my own, which was fine. Of course I would be happy to go back and explore more. I love the stories she found, too. Spending time with someone who lives in a place is very rewarding – as it was to spend time in Hannover with you. What you learn means more when you explore together. I did enjoy the colors very much – why did someone paint a door green, then red?? And the textures and, and… An old stony friend, that’s a wonderful idea. And one that is full of character, maybe that’s what you’re thinking of. Or full of personality? Same idea. We’ll take a little break and post again before too long. Who knows what that will look like? We don’t! 🙂 Thank you for being a real participant in all this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are right, personality is what I wanted to say 🙂 – Okay, that makes it even more interesting, that yours and Ules photos are not from the same day! But both of your pictures complement the story of the building which is a very nice mixture. And of course it is nicer to explore such things together. Yes, there are these special places you could spend hours. I know what you mean 🙂 It is a very fine post and I like your way of storytelling (both of you) very much!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A very interesting idea and excellent post. I’ve only visited Germany once, and experienced only cities, cathedrals, biergartens, etc. so this humble farm structure is a great subject for me, I enjoy this post, your photos have a great, warm feel to them. I don’t romanticize farm life, it’s a tough business, and the dairy farmers here in Wisconsin are packing it in, at a heart-breaking rate. The little bit I know of it, from the modern farmers around my hometown, is that it’s a heck of a lot of work, and yet aspects of it are very appealing.

    I read somewhere, that when President Truman, was visiting the farm where he grew up, his press secretary asked Mrs. T. to get Harry to stop saying “manure.” She told him, “It took me twenty years to get him to say manure.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • It would be fun to see what you would do with the same material – I’m sure you would have a good time with stories like those. You make a good point about the difference between visiting cities and the everyday places. That’s exactly what was so valuable about that day, and another day where we visited relatives in another village. Being with Ule was key of course, but I really, really appreciated the opportunity to spend time in a “normal” milieu. Absolutely, farming is a tough, and very risky business, especially these days, but I think people in general (who aren’t farmers) sense something they are missing from life that farming includes: a closeness to natural processes, which modern life separates us from. Great story about Truman! 🙂 I was happy not to change Ule’s translation of Cowshit Path (we went back and forth a lot on translations). No manure there! Just the real deal. 🙂 Thanks Robert!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This looks like a wonderful and exciting outing with your friend. I love these detail-rich closeups.One shot (#14) made me winder if the padlock ever gets opened. And what is it protecting?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had the best time with Ule and Ben; later I thought that from now on I’ll be sure to make contacts and know people ahead of time when I travel – it is so rewarding to spend time with someone who lives where you’re traveling. An obvious truth brought home by visiting with Ule and Ben, as well as Almuth, Harrie and Karl. Yes, what’s with the variety of “locks” on this building? It was essentially well closed up but the fasteners were all over the map in terms of effectiveness, whether you’re trying to keep people out or get back in. 😉 .

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  7. Doubly delightful in everyway. Thanks for digging into the history as well as capturing the images. I can see why you didn’t want to leave. I could easily take images there for hours. Gorgeous colors and textures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank Ule for undercovering the history, and also the second two photos, which give an overview of the building and put it into context. There were lots of reasons I didn’t want to leave….the main one was that it was so delightful to spend time with Ule and Ben but I could have kept taking photos, too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Sheri, enjoy the weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I expect they do, hidden away here and there – but the relentless march of “progress” and plain love of money have removed a lot – there is more legal protection now, but in the 60s and 70s there was far more thoughtlessness. And of course there are older buildings too – I remember years ago being quite taken aback by a Tudor building beside a main road in Wiltshire. A 🙂

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  8. Hey Lynn,
    thats my neighbourhood …lived for about 10 years in the Münsterland in a village like Klein Reken …there is also a Gross Reken…but big …? Go to school and started a training as a photographer at the local wedding photo studio…a little boring life and i thought about how life would be in a big town (like Münster) . Thirty years later i live in Hamburg and Berlin…but like to come back for a visit…nearly nothing changed in the Münsterland (except the fact that the car traffic is as big as in a main town today) Best regards, Jürgen

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, that’s cool! I did know about the “big Reken” and I’m glad my friends are in the seriously small one. 😉 Living in cities like Hamburg and Berlin, I can understand why you’d enjoy going back for a visit, even if the traffic gives you no relief. I lived in New York City for many years and I loved it, but i was always eager to get out too, to be someplace quieter for a while. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoyed this selection – especially the textures and patterns of weathered bricks and timbers. It is quite easy to unthinkingly pass by and not see the ‘views’ captured in these images.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Now it is time to write some words here too :
    Even though your text had not so many surprises for me ☺, your photos had some. Your close-ups are really adorable, I couldn’t say which one I like best. But the one with the bricks only is wonderful, nothing spectacular is there about the subject, but your photographing it makes the sensation!
    Working with you on this project was a big pleasure for me, thank you for all I could experience with you and by you.
    Now, looking on this post is very different from all the other times I came visiting here: it is a bit like my own this time, I’m pleased with every comment and like. Just like it were mine. So here we have another example for shared pleasures that double.
    The luck that made me find you makes the world a better place. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your kind words are too much! 🙂 Dulcedelgado above (I think her name is Simone) talked about shared sensibilities, and she got it right. It’s nice that it shows. Your observation about how seeing this post gives you doubled pleasure is good to hear. Thank you for being generous, patient, insightful and sensitive.
      I was torn about showing the brick close-up in color or monotone. The worn brick colors are so beautiful. But black and white emphasizes the wear, the texture, all the irregularities – and with a little judicious use of the new texture tool in LR you can bring those out even more. The close-ups are fun to do as you know, but I’m so glad you made the two “context” photos – it makes all the difference, seeing the whole building and its’ surroundings.
      I hope you are bearing up under the heat!

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  11. What a lovely story – the history, and your collaboration. I can feel your pleasure in examining and photographing the building. I do love all the detail photos. This whole post is interesting for me because it’s a building I would have quickly snapped and then walked on by. I will pay more attention in future!
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you probably know, the pleasure in traveling to a foreign country is increased exponentially when you can spend time with people who live there. We had a great time together and didn’t want the connection to end. We have a lot in common, so we figured we’d try this. The stories Ule found were great, weren’t they? Imagine the stories locked inside so many buildings, stories we never hear….Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed this, and I hope you do spend time with one particular “mundane” building or object that you come across, one f these days. I’d like to see what you would make of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Ein Dialog über dies und das und das gegenseitige Bearbeiten von Fotos  – Ule Rolff


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