The really old dairy barn that was in the way of a new Sarpy County housing development had a certain flair that Tim Vala didn’t want to see die.
It cost him a bundle, and required some tricky maneuvering, but today that 42-foot-by-60-foot structure that dates back to about the 1880s is sitting on the Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard property.
The move from 114th Street and Schram Road to the Vala grounds near 180th Street and Schram Road wrapped up Wednesday. It was a feat that Vala said involved temporarily pulling down power lines, arranging a route to avoid a bridge that couldn’t take the weight and coordinating with various agencies and property owners.
The barn is to become an integral part of the cider mill project the Valas hope to have operating within the next year or two at their popular fall destination.
Vala said he knew the barn’s owner through church. The old Crofoot farmland northwest of 114th and Schram, according to Papillion records, is turning into a residential subdivision, another phase of Ashbury Creek.
Many of the barns in Sarpy County share the same builder team and therefore look similar, Vala said. “This one was different. We love the architecture.”
Still inside were nostalgic touches, like a string of wire that in preelectricity days was used to slide kerosene lamps from one cow-milking station to another. “It was neat to see that,” Vala said.
Initially, Vala thought that he might buy the old barn to tear down and repurpose the wood. “The more I looked at it, I said, ‘This is a neat-looking barn.’ ”
After talking to power companies, movers and others, he decided that it was possible to relocate and preserve.
When all was said and done, the project cost an estimated $65,000, Vala said. Now the family will invest in making the barn part of the area where they will press apples into cider and host related entertainment. Visitors, meanwhile, will be able to see the old barn as they take hayrack rides toward the apple orchards.
Vala said the family could possibly have built a new facility for what it cost to relocate and integrate the barn.
“But you could never duplicate the authentic parts of that barn,” he said.
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