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Ohio farmer owns a mail order barn
There's nothing about Marvin Hohenbrink's barn near Holgate, Ohio, that looks all that unusual. At least nothing that woukf make you stop along the road and take a second look.
What's unusual is the fact that in 1903, Marvin's grandfather ordered the barn out of a Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog, making it an honest-to-goodness mail-order barn!
"My grandfather bought the place in about 1892. I'm the third generation to farm it," says Marvin, who was born on the farm in 1930.
His grandfather had built a new barn in 1902 but it burned down not long after it was put up. And so, because he needed to get another barn put up in a hurry, he simply ordered a replacement out of the Sears catalog. The entire structure cost $970. "It was put up in 1903 but it's still in good shape today," says Marvin, noting that he may have to roof it soon, however. He expects the new roof to cost $4,000, more than 4 times the original cost of the barn.
The price of the mail-order barn included not only the pre-cut materials, but also the raising, finishing, painting and all other work. "By the time Sears was finished, my grandfather had a 70 by 36-ft. barn - 46 ft. to the peak - ready to use. I don't know what it would cost today - maybe $50,000 to $100,000."
But Marvin's not sure the barn could be duplicated because of the high-quality of the construction. He says the wood was all clear pine with no knots. "The timbers are all nicely squared and it's obvious it was done by machine and not by hand. The flooring is all tongue and groove."
The joists are 3 by 12-in. on 12 and 16-in. centers and everything is fitted together with wooden pins. The main support beams on each side of the main-drive floor are angled up from the front and back of the barn to provide a clear-span area on each side of the main drive, making it possible to store large pieces of machinery on each side of the center open hayloft, which is what Marvin uses the barn for today.
"The barn was well-designed and built. I've always admired Sears and Roebuck for offering such a superior piece of work at that price," says Marvin.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marvin Hohenbrink, 152 Muntz, Holgate, Ohio 43527 (ph'419 264-2705).

Reprinted with permission from FARM-LAND NEWS, Archbold, Ohio.

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #2