Freitag House (T. Heggland photo, 2005)
Freitag House, side view (T. Heggland photo, 2005)
Streiff House (T. Heggland photo, 2005)
Freitag Farmstead, general view (T. Heggland photo, 2005)
N7053 State Highway 39/69, Town of Washington, Green County
Dates of Construction of Contributing Buildings: 1862-1906
Located just one-and-one-half miles north of the village of Monticello, the Freitag Homestead has been home to the Freitag family since 1869. It is an example of the many prosperous farms developed in this part of the state by Swiss immigrants. These immigrants began arriving in the 1840s and this particular farm was begun in 1846 by Fridolin Streiff, one of the two founders of the nearby village of New Glarus. The white, Greek Revival style-influenced farmhouse that is still located on the farm was built for Streiff in 1862. Seven years later, Dietrich and Verena Freitag, both of whom were also from Switzerland, purchased Streiff's 230-acre farm. As the Freitags prospered, new buildings replaced the original log structures on the farm. In 1906, Nicholas and Elsbeth Freitag built a brick Queen Anne style house on the hill above the original house to accommodate their own family.
This farm is also the site of the first Swiss cheese factory in Wisconsin. The factory was started in 1869 by Nikolaus Gerber, a cheese maker from Switzerland, who persuaded Dietrich Freitag to let him establish a commercial cheese-making operation in the old log farmhouse. Freitag's dairy herd and that of four other local farms supplied the raw material. The finished product was the beginning of a Green County industry that, by 1938, was producing over a quarter of all the Swiss cheese made in the United States. Although the original factory was demolished in 1877, much of the original equipment can still be seen today in the cheese barn display at the Swiss Historical Village in New Glarus.
The Freitag Homestead is private property. Please respect the rights and privacy of the owners.