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Farmers and rancher win Recognition Awards

Agriculture.com Staff 07/07/2010 @ 9:08am

Maynard Hartke's grandfather built the first barn on the property in 1901 while renting a home and land across the road. "A barn will pay for a house!" he said.

One hundred years of family labor and maintenance later, the original barn, a house, and two additional barns stand in faithful service to the family's sheep, cattle, and seed operations. "The buildings are used much as what they were built for," says Hartke.

In 1867, Milton Henneberg's great-grandfather decided to build his house out of locally quarried limestone because of its strength, beauty, and availability. In 1886, son Emil decided to build the barn out of limestone for the same reasons.

In July of 2000, after growing up on the farm in constant presence of these two solid structures, Milton Henneberg had the barn's mortar re-pointed and the north wall stabilized to ensure the future of his calving shelter and saddle horse stalls.

Jeff Brunson purchased his 1880s barn from the Billeter family in 1989. Because of its prominent location alongside Interstate 82, its roomy interior, and its history in the valley, Brunson wanted to save the barn as part of his grain and hay operation. The barn received new paint and new windows in 1995 (though much of the glass is still original), internal structural support in 1999, and to top it off, a new roof in 2001.

John and Clara Davis's 1891 barn has always been a provider for the family, as well as a living monument to Michigan agriculture in the twentieth century. The barn has received hundreds of visitors and graced the pages of farm magazines throughout its many years of use.

The massive barn, with its unusual double-ridge construction, has been continually maintained and repaired over its lifetime. Major work has been given to the foundation, siding, roof, and doors, and the barn has been painted seven times in its history with the Davis family.

The 1910 barn on Edna Anderson's Living Legacy Farmstead still sits on the original 80 acres bought by her grandfather. Her repairs to the barn began in 1992 and (spurred on by a matching grant received by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Tourism) were finished in June 2000.

Now, the sounds of the farm resonate throughout the farmstead to the delight of the neighboring farmers who use her barn as storage for excess hay and equipment, to guests of her bed-and-breakfast business, and to visitors using the meeting facility located in the haymow.

Frank Harris's great-grandparents raised five sons on the farm from 1897 until 1947. In the midst of these years, a barn was raised in 1928. In 1973, after 25 years of renting the barn and the land, the Harris family returned to the property.

The classic red barn, originally built to shelter livestock and feed, now houses grain, farm equipment, and hay. It has survived many wind storms over its lifetime and should survive many more, thanks to the help of some interior bracing in 1993.

Maynard Hartke's grandfather built the first barn on the property in 1901 while renting a home and land across the road. "A barn will pay for a house!" he said.

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