Nebraska Historical Marker: The Skala Timber House

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3rd St, Battle Creek, Madison County, Nebraska

View this marker's location 41.992849, -97.60052

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Marker Text

The Joseph and Katherine Severa Skala house, built near Battle Creek by 1869, is a rare product of Czech-American culture. Discovered inside a house being demolished in 1968, the remains were moved here. The timber rooms have been preserved as found, and, except for the roof and two later openings, reflect the original construction.

The structure is a masterpiece of ancient Slavic carpentry skills so old they are rare even in Europe. This Czech technique is distinguished from similar methods by the use of thin planks set within a post-and-beam frame. Known as post-and-panel construction, this is the only example in Nebraska. The planks are so skillfully crafted that they rest perfectly upon each other. The unusual two-room arrangement is also an old Czech peasant cottage plan. Noteworthy interior features include the tie beams, and the diagonally-placed willow lathes with mud and straw plaster.

The present roof and porch were built following traditional Czech practice using old lumber donated by Mary Lucht, a descendant of the first pioneers. Window shutters were added for security.

Further Information

This building is included in the Nebraska History magazine article, David Murphy, “Old Cuts in New Wood: Traditional Czech Carpentry in the Central Great Plains,” Nebraska History 84 (2003): 2-17.


Marker program

See Nebraska Historical Marker Program for more information.