STERLEY BARN NARRATIVE
The Sterley barn is currently jointly owned by Jean and her daughter Shelly. The quilt square gracing this century-old barn is called the Farmer’s Daughter. The pattern was chosen as a tribute to Shelly’s father and Jean’s husband, lifelong farmer in Victory Township, the late Devere “Buck” Sterley. It was painted by Shelly, a third generation owner and her partner Michelle Henri.
This magnificent barn was built in 1890, the same year the farm house was erected by its original owner Fred Hirner. He married the neighbor’s daughter Daisy Peterson and her father John had the road just east of the barn named for him. As depicted in this photograph of the farmstead, several buildings were clustered near the barn, a tool shed, brooder house, granary and windmill. At a later time the house was moved off the property and relocated on Angling Road where it still stands today. Over the years the out-buildings deteriorated and were torn down. Although the farm landscape has changed, the barn continues to stand as the centerpiece of a farming enterprise.
Over her many years, this barn has been home to dairy and beef cows, draft horses and a variety of other animals. The large hay mow has stored many, many bales of hay harvested on hot summer days off this farmland. When the hay crop abounded the bales would be piled all the way up to the peak of the roof. Feeding the animals below required climbing the mow ladder up to the top level and throwing bales down an open shoot into the feed alley on the lowest level. Heat from the metal roof and the lack of air circulation made this a hot and dusty job on many summer days.
Although this big old barn no longer serves agricultural purposes, it still has many valued uses and is treasured by her family. The owners are antique pickers and often pull into its vast spaces to unload and sort a truck load of auction treasures.
This barn was also headquarters for a restoration project on a vintage 1973 VW Beetle recently. And, of course, she offers great storage for various items during harsh winter months.