Big Red Barn in Belvidere houses agricultural history

Pure Nebraska
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 9:54 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2023 at 10:25 AM CDT
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BELVIDERE, Neb. (KOLN) - The Thayer County Museum is impressive, with a large campus and a number of buildings. One building is known as the “Big Red Barn”, and it’s used to keep ag history alive.

We caught up with Henry Laber to talk about what’s inside this unique farm museum. “This barn got built because we needed more room,” Laber said. “We wanted a home for all of our agriculture items in one place. A local farmer donated money, and with the help of other individuals, we were able to build the barn.”

Museum volunteers are proud of the exhibits you can find inside the Big Red Barn. “One exhibit is for the kids,” Laber said. “We have a cornfield outside. That corn is grown, brought inside, and when the kids come here, they can shell it and grind it.” Laber says this gives the kids some hands-on fun while visiting the museum.

“The tractors in here don’t have the fancy things you have now,” Laber said. “We have corn shellers, we have a threshing machine, we have small combines, and wagons. There is a piece of equipment here called a Roto-Baler. It made a bale about 18″ to 24″ round, and about 3 feet long. To me, that was the start of the big balers. We also have some horse-drawn equipment. We have some potato diggers, some potato planters, and other items that handled just one or two rows at a time.”

“We need to have history,” Laber said. “This part of the country was started by farmers and ranchers in many ways. We have to maintain that history.” If you’d like to know more about the Big Red Barn, and the Thayer County Museum in general, just pull in to Belvidere. It’s a town with a population of 48. It might be small, but you’ll enjoy visiting the museum complex.