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The Big Red Barn

Written by Leslie Means

The Big Red Barn holds a very special place in my heart.  I captured a few pics on New Years Day as the snow was falling.  Perfect – really, as some of my very best memories were made in this barn during the winter months.  It’s one of my favorites places – ever.

This 100+ year old building sits on a farm (my family farm) in Webster county.  Here’s a bit of history written by my mom in 2003.  My sister’s wedding was held here that 4th of July so as you can image lots of cleaning/repair had to be done before the big event!    

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The center part of this barn was on this  farm in 1901 when Christian Waechter (my Great-Grandfather) bought this farm from Moses Wilson.  Christian Waechter built on the east, west, north and upper sections of this barn in about 1912.

Christian was an innovative man for his time in that he installed a state of the art waste handling system as seen in the tracts and bucket that completely encircled the east, north and west side of the barn.  The original barn had six enclosed box stalls that resembled the north box stalls you can see today.  These stalls were meant to hold two horses each.  The east side was meant for milking cows as can still be seen today.  The guttering behind the cows is done in cement and is still there under the dirt floor.  The bucket moved along behind the cows for waste removal and then was sent out the north east door for emptying.

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The slightly raised area to the south in the middle section was enclosed grain bins with access through the south windows.

Loose hay was lifted in on a sling by the rope and pulley system you see above you.  The large upper door on the south is opened and closed by a rope pulley system that can be seen on the floor in the bathroom and would extend out the north west door.  Keith (my dad) remembers playing in the loose hay and being able to touch the rope pulley system in the very roof of this area.  Do you suppose he was known to swing from the rope?  Our girls have many fond memories of playing in the barn and recently have revealed that they used a bucket and the rope to make an elevator system to lower their cats to the bottom level.  Do you think the cats enjoyed this?????

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Christian and Harold Waechter (my great grandfather and grandfather) utilized the barn as it was designed.  In 1979 Keith (my dad) renovated the west side to accommodate a twenty sow farrowing house.  In February of 2003 Keith and Linda’s third daughter, Lindsay, and her fiancé, Clay, began planning a wedding for the 4th of July that would include a Barbecue reception and barn dance here on the farm.

The pits in the farrowing house were filled in and this area became a wood shop.  The 100 year- plus layers of dirt, hay and various other types of debris were removed and the building was power washed many times over the next 5 months.  Remnants of the past can be seen in the initials of children who played in this barn during the last 100 years.  Even included is a “Smoking Prohibited” message scrawled across one of the support beams in the north stall.  A new roof was installed 2/2003.   Many friends and relatives helped to accomplish this herculean task.  Currently we are planning to keep the structure as original as possible and would like to replace the original drop siding on the south side.

We have held other wedding receptions, class reunions, family reunions and church services here in “The Red Barn”

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About the author

Leslie Means

Leslie is the co-founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well.

She is married to a very patient man. Together they have two pretty fantastic little girls ages 8 and 6 and one little dude born March 2017!

When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.

3 Comments

  • I love the photos-the contrast of the red barn and snowflakes. The barn holds a special place in my memories of playing in the hay, milking the cows, the kittens, the lambs, -I could go on—–

  • Thanks for sharing. We just bought a property in Bennington with a tall Dutch barn that needs re-roofing, and I fear it’s too high to try to tackle ourselves. I hope we can save it.