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.
Perry Township “Dell’s Delight”
A large sign on the milk house adjacent to this old barn advertises the dairy, “Dell Delight Farms, the Sailors,” words that encircle a black and white Holstein. The barn, set among trees and behind a foreground of harvested corn, made a great composition. An American flag, partially hidden by trees, was a bonus.
Organizers met Randy Sailor, current owner, who inherited the farm when his dad passed in 2012. He said his great grandfather, G.R. Gross, bought the farm in 1919. His great-great grandparents came from Champaign County. So naturally, his roots go deep into farming and he still milks 90 dairy cows twice daily – in a building adjacent to the barn, which they updated for “modern” dairy farming from 1955 to 1973.
The barn, Randy said, was built around 1880, about the time that the gambrel roof was introduced as a way to store more hay than the conventional gabled barn. In some cases, barns were modified by changing the gable into the gambrel shape. Underneath this barn – where the livestock are kept – there are several hand-hewn walnut beams. Over the years the families continued farming and made changes to preserve the barn. In the 1940s – Randy’s dad “Ned” took over in 1941 – they added a metal roof and in 1998 they covered the outside with steel siding. The barn is now ready for anything Mother Nature will throw at her. After all, if fortune continues to smile, Dell’s Delight will keep on producing milk for many more generations of Sailors.
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].