Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 18, 2003

One room house in LP being torn down

By Troy Feltmann

The way big houses are built these days, could you imagine living in a 12-foot by 16-foot house?

For almost half of a century, two men lived this way in Lester Prairie.

The house is in the process of being torn down piece-by-piece by Melvin Wolter, owner of the property on 113 Pine Street.

Paul Dumke, a bachelor, lived in the house from 1936 to 1963.

"He had no plumbing or electricity. He had a hand pump well and out house in the back yard," Wolter said.

Dumke used a wood stove to heat the house.

"Dumke was almost hermit-like except he had a roof over his head," Wolter said.

Walter Heldt bought the house in 1963 and lived there until 1979.

Heldt added on a 10-by-10 bedroom with a toilet in it. At that time, plumbing and electricity was installed by Mark Krueger.

Heldt also added on a 12-by-22 foot garage.

"The garage was almost bigger than the whole house," Wolter laughed.

As Wolter is tearing down the house, he is amazed by the construction materials.

"All of the 2 x 4s are hand cut. The house had very little insulation," Wolter said.

"They used a thin layer of tar paper for insulation in the walls. There was some insulation in the ceiling. Hard to believe that the men stayed warm during the winter," Wolter said.

After Wolter tears down the house, the lot will be up for sale.

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