Happy Father’s Day
While on a family trip to Austria two years ago, Fran spotted an Almhütte and commented to her father how she would adore a hut like this in her back yard. An Almhütte is an Alpine hut that is found in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. It’s commonly used for animals grazing in the wild to seek shelter from the weather. It has a peaked roof with an approximate 4-foot overhang on the sides. It’s common in Germany to see a huge boulder on the roof to hold the roof down during windy conditions. You see, Fran has a love for all animals; she has goats, cows, donkeys, and dogs … they all have names and personalities. Fran could only imagine how her animals would benefit from such a structure. Werner saw Fran’s imagination going wild. He found some photos and his mind began working on the plan. Werner was going to build Fran her animal hut.
After returning to the States, Werner began the design on paper; soliciting help from a family friend Edward Fitzpatrick and his grandson Henry, the project was underway. He made a list of materials needed, which included properly treated cedar from Chiefland, FL. He had a wood burned “Almhütte” sign made to hang over the door which has an image of a goat and a cow. There are four layers to the roof; the inside layer made of small tree logs to give it an authentic rustic ceiling when you look up once inside. The outside has wood shingles. And yes, the boulder is going to be mounted on the roof to replicate the authentic Almhütte. It’s all in the details.
But there are two extra special touches that are going on Fran’s Almhütte to complete the project. One is a masterpiece work of metal that Werner twisted himself by hand in 1957 while completing his apprenticeship in Germany as a metal worker. It adds the perfect Alpine look to the Almhütte window and comes from the heart. The other special touch is slightly difficult to explain. When Fran was able to open her first law office, she chose a site in Palm Harbor, FL. The property had an existing small building and next to it a unique historic free-standing door with old rusty hinges and a door knocker. Imagine just a door standing there alone. Werner could never have been so proud to see his daughter break ground on that site and grow her own business into what it is today. He kept that old rusty hardware from the demolished door and has been polishing it diligently to place on the Almhütte. For Werner, this special Almhütte is a one-of-a-kind for a one-of-a-kind daughter. It signifies where they both came from and where they are today.
There have been proposals from others for a similar build, but Werner declines and explains he will be the one to complete the task for his daughter who has become a wife, mother, businesswoman, and philanthropist. He is proud of her accomplishments and wants to create an authentic Almhütte for his Francoise.