The History Behind a Woodbury Homestead

by | Apr 2023

Tree in Prelude Village

Photo: Jacey May Photography

Prelude Village fosters community and shares local history.

For Joe and Roxanne Kielbasa, maintaining a 175-year-old farmhouse in their late 50s and early 60s was becoming difficult to manage. “From Roxanne and I’s perspective, moving from a place that we had occupied for close to 30 years and moving into a smaller unit is the right thing to do at our age,” Joe says.

The Kielbasas have lived in Woodbury since 1990. They started out in the Highland Village neighborhood. Then, in 1994, they purchased the historic McHattie Farmstead. Although the Kielbasas had just one neighbor upon moving in, the development of Wedgewood Park brought in new faces to the community. Joe became known as “the farmer,” and their land became a play space to neighboring children. It boasted a tree swing, a BMX bike trail, a zipline, a hockey rink and a warming house. Joe would bring children on tractor rides and host bonfires.

Then, in 2016—and four children and 16 grandchildren later!—the Kielbasas sold the McHattie property to a developer to aid in the construction of Prelude Village. “It was a challenging move, but the thing that we’re looking forward to is building a new sense of community with the residents that will be living here,” Kielbasa says.

Prelude Village is a living community for empty nesters or those looking to downsize that is built on the McHattie Farmstead. There are two different home models in the community: the Villa Homes, which boasts a single-family living style, and the Trinity Homes, which are three-unit attached townhomes. “The property is developed, designed and intended to support ages 55 and older, but we have age ranges from the 70s into the 90s,” says chief operating officer Deborah Rose.

There have been two phases to the creation of Prelude Village. The first, completed in 2022, included the construction of seven Villa Homes and three Trinity Homes, each of which house three townhomes. Phase two, which is currently in the process of construction, will bring an additional three Trinity Homes. In the end, there will be 19 homes on the property.

Although there is no in-home personal or medical care provided, Rose explains that there are particular services that are completed by the Prelude Village staff. “This includes lawn care and snow removal, changing the filters, managing the water softeners, light bulbs (We don’t want anyone climbing on ladders who shouldn’t have to be!) and any kind of basic maintenance that a home would require,” she says. “We also pay for and organize the trash services, water and sewer, plus real estate taxes.” Prelude Village also offers chaplain services, Bible studies and “anything the tenants think would be of interest or benefit,” Rose says. Staff will also make recommendations for memory services or additional services that a tenant may require.

Prelude Village Home Interior

Photo: Jacey May Photography

Homes are equipped with aging in place elements, such as roll-in or walk-in showers, a raised dishwasher to reduce bending, no-step entries, bollards in garages to assist with parking and a quick-access safe room for dangerous weather. “The objective is that people can live safely and successfully as long as their health and well-being can be supported,” Rose says.

The original McHattie homestead serves as the Prelude Village Clubhouse and host events for tenants and the Woodbury community. “Joe and Roxanne did an amazing job taking care of an old, old house. It’s beautiful and Prelude Village wants to retain it, with all of the character and features that [the Kielbasas] did a lovely job of maintaining,” Rose says.

The Kielbasas were the first tenants on the Prelude Village property, which, at the time of writing, is home to four other tenants. “[We’re building] a community that watches out for each other and helps each other out as we move into a later stage of our lives,” Kielbasa says.

Time for Tea

The history of McHattie home dates back nearly 180 years and starts in Afton. In 1833, Scottish immigrants and brothers John and Alexandar McHattie moved to Canada and the U.S. respectively. In 1841, both brothers staked a claim on land in Afton. John lived in Afton for three years, while Alexandar went to Gray Cloud Island and eventually sold his claim in 1844.

The original McHattie Farmstead

Photos: Joe Kielbasa

In 1844, John settled in Woodbury, and Alexandar followed in 1845; they are considered Woodbury’s first settlers. The McHattie home began construction is 1845. One year later, John married his wife, Jane Middleton. The brothers lived together until 1848, when Alexander married his wife, Margaret Middleton. (The first child born in Woodbury was Sarah Middleton, daughter of John and Jane, who was also the first married couple to be celebrated in Woodbury.)

The 5.7-acre property contained the farmhouse and more than 11 farm buildings, including a bunkhouse, a multi-purpose farm building containing a chicken coop, a pigsty, a tack room, a corn crib, a barn and two milk houses. In 1891, the granary was built and signed by Robert McHattie, John’s son. Around 1910, the front of the farmhouse was removed (and an addition was added) and moved roughly 100 feet to the northwest to become a guest cottage. Woodbury’s first post office was housed on the property and was on the corner of Bailey Road and Woodbury Drive.

From left to right, Dora Lindeman and the McHattie’s: Aggie, Flossie, Ann, John and Jane McHattie

From left to right, Dora Lindeman and the McHattie’s: Aggie, Flossie, Ann, John and Jane McHattie

The home stayed in the McHattie family for three generations before being sold to Gordon Bailey Sr. in the 1960s. The home and farm buildings were then sold to Bailey Sr.’s daughter, Virginia and her husband, Ed Bartch, who lived on the property until 1974 when the Johnson family purchased it. Twenty years later, it was sold to the Kielbasas, who owned and operated McHattie’s Victorian Times Tea House out of it. At the time, the business included a 50-seat restaurant, catering and wedding services, and specialty cake creation. The farmland eventually developed into what’s now known as Wedgewood Park. Today, the McHattie home serves as the clubhouse and activities center of Prelude Village.

“The tea house is beautiful,” Rose says. “We are retaining not only history, but the integrity of what has been preserved and created.”

Prelude Village
10350 Bailey Road; 651.501.6514


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