When my brother Dean texted to tell me his barn was getting a new roof, I rushed right over with my camera. How often does a barn get a new roof these days?
You see so many barns across the country that are sort of abandoned and forgotten – though I wouldn’t say that’s true for the barns of Old Mission Peninsula. Most of them are still “working barns,” and the farmers take good care of them. Aspen Contracting of Traverse City are the brave folks installing the new roof on this barn.
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Located at the corner of Center Road and Kroupa Road, this 30’x40′ barn was built by Oscar Nelson in 1909. According to Evelyn Johnson’s “Barns of Old Mission Peninsula” book, Oscar married a widow who had traveled to the Old Mission Peninsula from Europe, bringing her children with her.
The Nelsons had a child named Ruth, who grew up to marry Walter Rude. Together, Ruth and Walter worked the 40-acre fruit farm and also raised Tennessee Walker horses. In particular, they loved the golden palominos, similar to Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger.
The Rudes installed wooden fences and remodeled the barn, adding five box stalls with big mangers, a dutch door, wooden floors, and nameplates over each stall door. One stall was reserved for the stallion and the other for mares.
Longtime OMPers will recall the man with a long white beard named Asher who took care of the barn and horses. He hailed from the Traverse City State Hospital, where Ruth worked as an accountant. She often brought the residents of the hospital home to help on the farm, and Asher was one of them.
Through horse-related activities, the Rudes met the Brill family and maintained a close friendship throughout the years. Ruth and Dorothy Brill were instrumental in organizing horse shows at Bowers Harbor Park for a number of years. After Walter passed away, Ruth continued to maintain the farm, but eventually sold the horses.
Dorothy came to live and care for Ruth in her final years, and when Ruth passed away in 1997, Dorothy was given five acres which included the barn and a ranch-style house right next to it.
Dean and Laura Johnson bought the farm in 1993 and eventually bought the five acres from Dorothy, as well. The barn currently houses Dean and Laura’s horses, Sugar and Summer. Here’s Summer…
I sure remember Asher. Walked by there on my way home from school when I was 7, 8 and maybe 9. Called him Jesus!!!
Where did you live at the time that took you past the Rude farm?
I think at that time they lived on the wunch farm. Grandma and Grandpa brown always talked about living there. Lots of cool stories. Sure wish I could hear them all again.
Old Mission Gazette …Yes, we lived on the Wunsch farm when we moved here from Lake City in 1948 and lived there for 2 or 3 years before moving to their other farm on Bluff Road and lived there until maybe November of 1958 when we moved to the farm where you now live, Jane Louise Boursaw.
Ah got it. I knew you lived at the Bluff Road farm but had forgotten about you living at the other farm before that.
And thanks, Tyler, for the intel!
Very interesting. I did not know that about Asher. Thanks. I also went to a Halloween party in that barn!!
The quilt on this barn is one of the best I’ve seen
It IS beautiful! I forget the name of the design – Northern Star or something like that.
Johnna Oatley & Chris Toth – did you see this?
When I was little, I’d watch Asher do his chores by looking out the window at Hank & Dora Gore’s house. Hank always had a pair of binoculars out for us kids to play with. It was always fun to watch Asher – I never personally met him, but was fascinated by him.
I remember that too
[…] you see in the pasture on the corner of Center Road and Kroupa Road. This farm was once owned by Walter and Ruth Rude, who raised Tennessee Walker horses […]
[…] There have been horses on that farm dating back to when Dean and Laura purchased the property from Ruth Rude – she and her husband, Walter, had Tennessee Walkers […]
[…] on the OMP. Remember how excited I was when my brother and sis-in-law, Dean and Laura Johnson, had a new roof put on their barn? And a new door and siding and paint restoration installed on the “home farm” […]
[…] Keep in mind how excited I used to be when my brother and sis-in-law, Dean and Laura Johnson, had a brand new roof placed on their barn? And a brand new door and siding and paint restoration put in on the “residence farm” […]
[…] Keep in mind how excited I used to be when my brother and sis-in-law, Dean and Laura Johnson, had a brand new roof placed on their barn? And a brand new door and siding and paint restoration put in on the “house farm” […]
[…] Read more about that barn’s history and new roof here. […]