Recognition Award Winner
Year of Award: 2001
Original Use: Hay, Livestock
Current Use: Hay, Livestock
Ethel Sweet's 85-year-old barn has been used for sheep ever since her father built it in 1916. Today, her nephew and his son take advantage of the barn's roomy open spaces and comfortable environment to shelter their sheep during the harsh Nebraska winters. The barn's main floor space can be used flexibly to set up creeps and pens as needed. The upper loft stores hay bales.
Several restorations have been made over the years as a result of damaging wind storms. The most recent set of repairs was completed in 2000, when Sweet replaced the main portion of the roof with new steel roofing. She also replaced damaged siding and trim before applying two coats of red paint. She hired a carpenter to do the "real high parts" and her nephew did the rest of the work himself. Her investment of just over $6,000 will keep the barn in good working shape for years to come.
Sweet's family has resided on their 240-acre central Nebraska farm for more than 100 years. Her barn is a local landmark and was featured on the cover of the Nebraska State Historic Buildings Survey of Merrick County in 1992. Looking out her window at the beautiful, freshly painted barn gives Ethel Sweet great joy. "The barn is a meaningful remembrance of our father who died in 1921," she says. "He would be proud to know his family loved that old barn so much that they were willing to keep it in good repair."