The Shack in the Sugar Bush

The Sugar Shack

Early farming in the northern United States often included Maple Sugar production.  If you were lucky enough to have plenty of Maple trees on your property, you didn't have to purchase cane sugar or molasses from the southern states. This was a matter of Northern pride during the Civil War.

Walking through the sugar bush (a wooded area which includes trees for sap collection), you'd often find buckets hanging from spiles pounded into trees.  The sap runs when temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing, and it drips into the buckets where it collects, ready for farmers to gather up.  Farmers then boiled the sap to reduce it into maple sugar or syrup.

To protect the workers and equipment from the elements, a sugar shack was built.  This housed supplies as well as the wood-fired stove and evaporator used to boil the sap. The sugar shack pictured above, is part of the historic Chellberg Farm, located within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

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