SIDNEY — Robert Kroeger, of Cincinnati, created 17 Shelby County barn paintings to raise awareness for historic barn preservation in November 2021. He then donated them to the County Wide Historical Alliance as a fundraising opportunity. A 2023 calendar and note cards were created with the images of the paintings.
The Alliance has announced the paintings will be going up for auction online during the month of July.
Orange Township “Recycled”
There aren’t many brick barns in Ohio – or elsewhere for that matter. So, even though this barn was built in 1941, about 10 years “younger” than the old barns Kroeger usually paints, he obliged and he’s glad he did – brick barns are rare birds.
The builder of this barn, a Mr. Minniear, wasn’t a multi-millionaire, but he was clever enough to recognize a bargain. When the old Sidney School Desk Factory was torn down, Minniear recycled the lumber and the bricks, cleaned off the mortar, and used them not only to build the barn but also the adjacent brick garage and a brick fireplace. He owned a trucking company, which meant that he could transport the bricks reasonably inexpensive.
Unfortunately, Mr. Minniear’s dreams of farming and having a wonderful barn to house his crops and livestock had to wait: on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy bombed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, sending the United States into war the next day. Mr. Minniear was soon drafted into the Marine Corps.
The current owners, Randy and Patti Moore, purchased the farm in 1985 and made their dream come true: they opened a garden center, giving the barn a new purpose. In 1991 they staged their grand opening and continued to run the center until 2011. Now they’ve again given the barn a new life: a place for family gatherings and reunions, still using those bricks – more evidence of the wisdom of recycling.
Paintings on display
The paintings have been on display at various community festivals and will be displayed at the Shelby County Fair at the end of July. The paintings will be located in the Bicentennial Traveling Museum that will be parked next to the Community Foundation Hall. The calendars and sets of 14 note cards will be available for sale for $15 each.
Each painting will be listed by lot number with a description. Opening bids will start at $50 and each subsequent bid will go up by $5. Bids can be made at TroyKies.hibid.com. There will be a total of 19 paintings auctioned off.
The auction will end on Friday, July 29, at 6:30 p.m. The winners of the bids are to pick up their paintings on Saturday, July 30, between 1 and 3 p.m. at the Traveling Museum inside the Shelby County Fairgrounds or arrange a pickup at a future time with the Shelby County Historical Society.
For more information, contact the Shelby County Historical Society, 937-498-1653 or [email protected].