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The Chimney Rock Pile

This whimsical rock pile was built by Billy Hartstrom, who homesteaded in Sikes Township in 1905. The prairie had a lot of rocks to remove before they could break up the sod with plowing. Loaded by hand onto a stoneboat--a flat "raft" of planks dragged by horses or oxen--the rocks ended up in piles in each field. Billy must have had an artistic flair. He used flat limestone for the border, and round rocks behind.

This looks over Billy Hartstrom's homestead site. Sadly, like so many others in the area, he died in the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic. He was thirty-six years old, never married. Although nothing remains of the homestead at that intersection of the gravel roads, our family still calls it "Billy's Corner."

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