Farmstead features five barns


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.

Van Buren Township

This farmstead, located on a hill in Van Buren Township, features five barns, the oldest dating to 1898. “I chose to include three of them in the painting since I prefer to paint the scene as it was originally. The two barns in the foreground weren’t there a hundred years ago,” said Kroeger.

According to the present owner, Matthew Poppe, the mid portion of the farmhouse contains a wood-framed one-room schoolhouse, which was used for black students. It sat on the back of the property.

Family ownership traces back to 1895 when Henry and Suzanne Sollman took over the farm. Over the decades it has remained in the family. The current owners, Matthew and Stacey, purchased it in 2019. Though the hogs and chickens – and their respective quarters – are gone, the Poppe family uses the barn for cattle, along with storing hay and straw – as well as housing farm equipment. The old hay hooks, along with their rail track system, remain from the days when hay was lifted by horse-drawn wagons. The barns are in fine shape.

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 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].

Van Buren Township’s barn Buren Township’s barn Courtesy photo

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