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Post 11. Trappe, Madeleine, and Barn-stable

We are in the heart of old village, consisting of old farm houses, stables, barns and granaries. All the buildings and their roofs were made of strong, durable larch wood.

The group of buildings, lining the street on the left, are two farmhouses and a barn-stable.

The house, called “ La Trappe ”, belonged to several families. A house and a barn or even a mule could have several owners.

On the ground floor there was a kitchen with a fireplace and a main room which also served as a bedroom. The family of Helen Tscherry-Theytaz lived here during their stays in Zinal. “There was a kitchen with a hearth for cooking, with a cauldron hanging from a chain. Sugar and salt, purchased in 50kg bags, were put in a hutch. A small cabinet was used for provisions and corn meal for polenta. Until the 1960s, polenta was the main meal at noon. In the evening, potatoes with cheese were the rule. Residents had meat, dried boiled meat only on Sunday.

The bedroom served as the main room during the day. There was a big high bed for children, a sliding bed for the parents that came out for the night, a clothes closet, a sideboard for crockery and other utensils for the kitchen, a table, and a soapstone stove that was used for heating and cooking.”

During the Mobilization of 1939-1945, a military assocation was formed as a “ secret group ” under the name “ La Trappe ”, which included the well-known musician Jean Daetwyler. A book recounts their adventures. Much later the name was assigned to this house.

Called “Madeleine” in more recent times, this house, larger than others, belonged to two families. “Madeleine was one of the owners. Every summer, she received the visit of a bishop, a fact that impressed the whole neighbourhood. Once, to avoid being seen in work clothes, the neighbours left their own homes by the window.“ (Bernard Crettaz)

The ground floor dates from 1835, the first floor was built in 1881. The dimensions of the window openings, are the original ones.

The barn-stable (grange-écurie) shows the traditional system of the barn construction : transversal axe-hewn beams with a vertical beam for maintaining balance. Several granges-écuries still exist along the old village street. They included a stable for cows at the bottom, and the barn for hay, above.

Small cabins, located near the houses, were for pigs or mules, others were used as tool sheds.

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Post 11. Trappe, Madeleine, and Barn-stable
3961 Zinal
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