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.
Jackson Township “Consider Clay?”
Did many early Ohio farmers ever consider using clay tiles to cover the roofs of their barns? No, not many. In fact, in all my travels I’ve seen only two – this one and a barn in nearby Mercer County. Perhaps one influenced the other, but they are most often, in the era of transitional barns (built circa 1890 – 1910), farmers chose either wood shakes or, if they could afford it, slate, which is more common in northeastern Ohio, compared to the rest of the state.
Sharon Zimpfer, daughter of owner Dennis Lotz, guesses the barn was built around 1900, which is reasonable since this is another transitional barn – saw-cut timber and mortise and tenon joints. Later a small granary with a large cupola was added, as well as a milk house, both of which have slate roofs. The roof’s unusual orange clay tile is flat in rectangular pieces and appears to be in excellent shape – as do the roofs of the adjacent buildings. The farm’s founders would be pleased with such performance, justifying the extra expense they incurred.
During the Great Depression, Sharon ventures, is when her grandparents, Samuel and Flossie Lotz bought the farm. Though Dennis used the barn for beef cattle, dairy cows, and horses, the barn sits empty today. Regardless, its roof still begs the question of why the builder chose clay tile. Some questions, unfortunately, will remain hidden by Father Time.
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]