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.
Some husbands, if they’re lucky, can negotiate a room for themselves – a “man cave” in the basement, a workshop in the garage, a tiny office or studio, as in my case.
“Roger Lentz, my barn scout extraordinaire for Shelby County, gets an entire barn. He’s lucky … or perhaps a good negotiator,” said Kroeger.
Roger lived across the road from this barn and for years since 1969 he farmed the acreage. George Harshbarger, who purchased the farm in 1930, the beginning of the Great Depression, told Roger that the barn was built in 1875, which makes sense since the interior beams show heavy hewing, indicating 1870s or even earlier. This was his wife Suzanne’s family farm. She added the barn quilt about 10 years ago.
Harshbarger bought the farm from the Russell family and raised corn, wheat, oats, and hay – as well as livestock – dairy cows, hogs, and chickens. These days Roger, who bought the farm from George’s estate in 1997, uses the barn for storing small equipment. He also farms these 300 acres and another 200 that he rents, which may seem too much for a 78-year-old retired person.
However, his grandson Jacob, a youthful 21-year-old, helps his granddad farm, along with raising beef cattle on his own. Together, they keep busy, farming and undoubtedly sharing stories, a great way to pass down family history from one generation to the next. So, Roger has not only a wonderful reason to keep farming but also a 150-year-old historic barn, which he can use as a retreat if things get hectic in the kitchen. Yes, he’s a lucky guy.
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].