Vicki and Wes Maynard are used to playing the role of hosts to strangers, though it wasn’t a role they expected to take on when they first bought their 1898 farmhouse on Gibraltar Road in Fish Creek. Once they learned the home’s history and its ties to Door County’s oldest family names, though, it was a task they fully embraced.
For the past 12 years, the Maynards have owned the farmhouse at 3015 Gibraltar Road where prosperous Swedish farmers Thure and Elise Ahman (Ohman) got their start on the peninsula in the late 19th century. Named the Grand View Farm for its then-open view of Eagle Harbor in Ephraim, the farmstead – originally 240 acres – has been home to various farming operations, a youth hostel, gardens and five different families, including Ted Cornils, who once owned and operated the Cornils Riding Stables at the corner of Highway 42 and County A.
In their relatively brief time owning the home, the Maynards have welcomed dozens of individuals with memories and ties to the farmstead, including an entire group of Swedes who were relatives of the Ohmans.
“We’ve had contact with either people who lived here or their relatives from each of the owners,” Wes Maynard said. “…People are really touched when they come back and go through the house and have their memories.”
Through its 119-year history, the home itself has seen few changes – just the addition of front and back porches – though the property has since been subdivided into several plots with the Maynards now living on two-and-a-half acres. Though they consider themselves “temporary caretakers” of the home, they have still infused the property with their own special flair of reusing and repurposing found items.
“We didn’t spend more than $500 decorating the whole house,” Vicki Maynard said. “The stuff that we just find at the side of the road, we repurpose.”
On July 19, they will open their home and gardens to the public for the Ephraim Moravian Church’s quilt walk and sale.
“We’re showcasing various quilts,” Wes said. “There’s the Ephraim quilt group that’s going to be showing some quilts. Vicki’s got a lot of quilts she’s picked up here and there. We’re going to have them out on the line, out on the fence, hopefully weather permitting. We’re going to have them inside, upstairs on the beds, but each of these quilts that people are contributing to show, they’re supposed to write a little story about the history of that quilt. And we’re showcasing the gardens, the flowers that we’ve got.”
Guests are encouraged to walk the gardens and grounds of the historic farmhouse while viewing more than 50 quilted items and a display of rosemaling and carving. Lemonade and Moravian sugar cake will be served, plants will be available for purchase, and freewill donations collected during the event will benefit the Angel Fund at Gibraltar School, supporting low-income students for school lunches and fees.
Quilts in a Garden Walk takes place Wednesday, July 19 from 11am – 3pm (rain date: Thursday, July 20). The Maynard farmhouse is located at 3015 Gibraltar Road. For more information call the Ephraim Moravian Church at 920.854.2804.