Ross & Danielle Ridenoure bought the farm from the Wilkins Family in September, 2016. The 3o acre farm and surrounding 450 acres had been in the Wilkins family since 1864, making them five generation "century farmers." Frank Wilkins actually has a copy of the homestead deed that is signed by President Ulysses S. Grant!
The barn was built in 1906 and was in pretty good shape when we bought the farm. Even so, it was showing its age and when we decided to save the barn and turn it into something special, we had no idea just how extensive the remodeling was going to be; foundation problems, bats, rotten wood, sagging timbers, etc. all complicated the remodeling effort.
One of the more unusual features about the farm is the 20 acre parcel on the eastern side that extends north. This parcel is virgin, never-been-farmed native tall-grass prairie that is a historical remnant from Nebraska's pioneer history. The prairie is a truly remarkable parcel that has many different varieties of 6 foot tall prairie grass, deer, an amazing assortment of birds and lots of different wildflowers.
The remodel itself took 2.5 years. The barn retains much of its original character with barn wood and wrought iron everywhere! We did make two new additions; the kitchen/restroom wing on the western side and the large covered porch on the eastern side.
Sadly, barns like ours seems to be seen less and less in Nebraska and we are so happy that we were able to save it so others can enjoy it as much as we do.