Barn Painting: “The Unusual Millennial”

Even though this barn lies across “the border” in Noble County, I included it – at the request of my barn scout Ron. The new owner is a good friend of Ron’s grandson and he’s 26. He’s a millennial.

Known, perhaps dubiously, as being self-centered and more interested in fun than in work, the millennials live up to their reputation. But there’s an exception to everything and 26-year-old Bryce Shively, the owner of this barn – one that his grandparents bought in 1959 – does not fit the mold of the typical millennial. Bryce bought it in 2013 after his grandparents died. He plans to save it, to the joy of neighbors who often stop in to see his latest renovation.

The barn’s a beauty, a true bank barn – one built directly into a hillside – and it dates to the early 1900s. It sits on a square mile of acreage and has served many purposes over the years – dairy cows, hay storage, among others. They even farmed blueberries. But it needs work. Bryce has replaced the concrete walls and footers and plans to put new siding on it this year. It’s a lot of hard labor and expense to save an old barn, which is why so many are facing extinction these days. But this one holds many memories for Bryce and he doesn’t want to let them get away.

He told me, “I remember family parties and church groups gathering in the barn to enjoy the straw maze, the long swinging rope dangling from the rafters, and sitting around a camp fire in evenings.  As a family we gathered every Sunday to enjoy grandma’s home cooking and we spent time outside sitting on the pouch, talking.  I remember the fun I had on this farm with family and friends. In the colder months it was playing in the snow, helping grandpa cut wood, ice fishing, hunting, and tubing on the five-acre pond the on property. In the summer we’d go through the straw maze in the loft, build forts in the barn, ride four-wheelers, shoot guns, and go camping and fishing. Family memories and roots run deep and rich throughout this piece of dirt where the old bank stands.” Well said, Bryce. The old barn thanks you, too.