Tag Archives: midtkammer

Guttebo House, Springfield Township, Winneshiek County, IA

The Guttebo House was located in the Washington Prairie community in Springfield Township, Winneshiek County, IA.  In 2010 the house was disassembled and rebuilt in Glenwood Township, about eight miles northeast of its original location.

The Guttebo House is really unique.  It’s of the midtkammer plan, a building form that developed in 17th century Norway amongst wealthy farmers.  In form, the midtkammer is essentially the same as the American I-house:  The primary entrance is centered on the longitudinal side and opens into a central passage.  The stairway to the second floor is located within this space.  On each side of the central passage is a large room; the left a kitchen space and the right a formal living space.

The midtkammer plan was seldom executed in Norwegian-American communities.  This is the only one I’ve encountered, but apparently there also exists one east of the Mississippi in southwest Wisconsin.  The Guttebo House measures 17′ x 34′ making it the longest house I’ve ever encountered.  No log runs the whole 34′ span, and instead timbers were spliced together with lap joints.  The house was made of eastern white pine timbers and the corners are full dovetailed.  The southern wall of the central passageway is built of logs whilst the northern partition wall is built with dimensional lumber.

Its former owner Les Guttebo is a pretty cool guy.  Les grew up in the house and wanted to find it a new home.  He tried and tried and tried to find someone to take it, allthewhile remaining steadfast against torching it.  After a few years of searching he found someone who wanted it, and now it sits rebuilt and utilized.


Guttebo House: west-south elevations, log house measures 17' x 34'













Circular stairway in central passage














View from framed addition on second floor: notice the lap joints and the butts of the partition wall logs





















Looking into and through the central passageway






















West elevation: the back of the house