Breaking the Prairie Museum

The Breaking the Prairie Museum honors farm families, their machinery, and their livestock.

In 2002, the Mendota Museum & Historical Society—through funding donated by brothers Earl and Melvin Mathesius—completed the first structure at Breaking the Prairie Museum. The Mathesius Brothers' Barn replica barn is glass-walled on three sides for open viewing 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Inside, there is a rotating display of antique tractors, a Scheidenhelm & Schaller buggy, and other farm equipment and tools. Outside, there is a rare Elgin-Hummer windmill from the mid-1800s that once stood on the farm of George Otterbach, as well as other farm implements.

Adjacent to the barn is The Country Chapel, which was completed in 2004. The chapel was the dream of Dean Otterbach, a founding member and long-time volunteer of the Mendota Museum & Historical Society. Inside is a restored pump organ that was originally manufactured in Mendota in the 1880s. Additionally, there is a stained glass window and a pulpit donated by Immanuel Lutheran Church in Compton.

Special tours of the Mathesius Barn and Country Chapel can be arranged by contacting the Mendota Museum & Historical Society Office.