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.
Dinsmore Township “Tractors Galore”
A date in the north wall of the well-maintained bank barn states: May 15, 1906, the date the barn was built. The large 40 by 80 foot barn was intended for horses, mules, and cattle, and two bays for threshing grain. Nineteen 40-foot beams were saw-cut, but the second-floor cross beams came from log cabins on the farm, early examples of recycling. It’s unknown exactly when the farm was founded, but it likely began in the pre-Civil War era when most log cabins were built in this region. Today a wooden ramp resting on a concrete base, leads into the barn. In 1963, the owners replaced part of the basement footer and in 1982 they added a metal roof, further protecting the barn.
The Berning family took over the farm in 1951 when Elmer and Ruth Berning purchased 120 acres and raised nine children. Alvin and Diane purchased the farm in 1976 and sold it to their son Chad and his wife Tara in 2012. Their sons Bryce and Trent, the fourth generation of Bernings, continue the farming tradition.
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]