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, in spite of its age, was in 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 very special, we had no idea just how extensive the remodeling was going to be. For example, the foundation was cracking and sagging on two sides and had to be completely replaced. In addition, there were large numbers of bats that had to be removed and the barn had to be made "bat proof."
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 history. It's a truly remarkable piece of property that is full of different varieties of prairie grass, an amazing assortment of birds and lots of different wildflowers.
The remodel itself took 2.5 years and was a labor of love. 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.