Ross & Danielle Ridenoure bought the farm from the Wilkins Family in September, 2016. The Wilson family homesteaded 80 acres in 1879 and, over time, acquired more of the surrounding farmland. Eventually, Wilson became Wilkins by marriage.
The barn was built by hand in 1909 using wood harvested across the Papio Creek and was in good shape when we bought the farm. Even so, the dirt floored barn was showing its age 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, MANY bats, rotten wood, sagging timbers, etc. all complicated the remodeling effort. 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.
One of the more unusual features of the farm is the 20-acre parcel on the eastern side that extends north. This parcel is a 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 and other furry animals, an amazing assortment of birds, and lots of different wildflowers.
Sadly, barns like ours are seen less and less in Nebraska! We are so happy that we were able to save this magnificent barn so others can enjoy it as much as we do.