A barn on the move

Pure Nebraska
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:14 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLATONIA, Neb. (KOLN) - A rural Gage County woman decided to save an old barn with family ties, and move it about three miles on gravel roads and through farm fields.

“This barn has been in our family for as long as I can remember,” Emily Haxby said. “My great grandma owned the property, and my grandma’s sister has owned it since then. We have been using the barn for hay storage. I can remember throwing bales one by one onto a hay rack out in the field, and brining those bales to this barn and filling it one by one with a bale elevator.”

Years of work, and pride for a job well done, are represented by the barn. “The barn had been sitting there for a long time,” Haxby said. “A wall actually started coming out a little bit, and the roof has had a lot of wear with the winds we’ve had so we’ve lost a lot of the tin. I wanted to fix it up, but I didn’t want to do it if it wasn’t sitting at my house. My plan is to move it home, put a new roof on it, fix it up and then use it for hay storage at home.”

The total trip for this barn is about three miles mostly through fields. “By going across fields and zig-zagging across ditches to get there, I can get down to three power lines,” Haxby said. “I have two Norris Public Power lines to cross, and one NPPD power line, and we’ll have to lift those up to get underneath them.”

The barn move itself is being done by experts. “Ensor Movers are doing this, a couple of brothers doing a great job,” Haxby said. “They move so quickly, these beams are huge. I think they are double I-beams welded together. They rolled them in, got everything in place and took another day to bolt everything together, and start lifting it up. We are going to put this up on a 2-foot stem wall, so we will gain the height underneath.”

And to get to the new foundation.. movers took it slow and easy. Some Gage County residents stopped by to watch. “When I was born, my folks were living on that farm,” Scott Spilker said. “They moved there in 1956, when they got married, and I was born in 1959. We moved to where I live now in 1962. But I do remember a little bit of that because we farmed that ground into the 1970′s. It’s just a beautiful barn. If I remember right, my grandfather told me it was a European design, and it’s a very strong, sturdy structure and a unique design.”

It wasn’t long before the barn arrived at it’s new location. “It’s just really surreal to have made it three miles across fields,” Haxby said. “There were some gut-wrenching moments where it tilted really far, but it made it, and that’s exciting. I’m really excited to get it home, get it on a good foundation, get a good roof on it and save it.”