In the autumn of 1994 the farmhouse burned down – a crack in the chimney wall started a smouldering fire.
The farmhouse from Primadengo (above Faido) was erected at the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum in 1990. It was a squared timber block building dating from 1683, set on a massive masonry foundation and having a masonry rear wall – a stately house from our southern canton. In the autumn of 1994 it burned down – a crack in the chimney wall started a smouldering fire. We did not rebuild the house again since the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum wants to show as far as possible original objects and not reproductions. We decided to leave the ruins of the cellar and kitchen walls standing as evidence of the fires that were once all too common.
Histories of houses speak repeatedly of conflagrations. Several buildings in the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum are ones that had been built anew in replacement of a predecessor destroyed in a catastrophic fire. Against this background it seems only logical that earlier generations kept usages requiring open fires in buildings of their own, either isolated from dwellings or made of plastered stone masonry. The smithy was in masonry, the bake house stood apart from the main house. Numerous laws regulated the sweeping of chimneys, the quenching of open hearth fires overnight or the use of candles, oil lamps and other open light. Even today it is forbidden to kindle a fire when the föhn, a dry wind, is blowing.