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Historic barn roof finds a new home

Aurora News-Register - Laurie Pfeifer

It was a sight to behold, said Mildred Sands.

It was a bittersweet moment, too.

The roof from a historic barn on property that's been in the Sands family for decades moved slowly down country roads, cut cross country over recently harvested corn fields, maneuvered through a farm yard and then finally came to rest atop its new home - the Prairie Plains Resource Institute (PPRI) Educational Center on Griffith Prairie west of Marquette.

"People asked me is it bitter or is it sweet seeing it moved and I said it's both.  It was kind of hard seeing it moved, but I was glad it could be used," Mildred said.  "It was going downhill and I always said I'd rather it could be used for something than see it fall down."

Mildred said the barn was already there when she married Clarence Sands, and moved to the farm in 1938.

"The house was built in 1912 and we figured the barn was built shortly after that," she said.  "At that time, it was the Cadillac of barns.  It was very unusual."

Because the barn brought back so many memories of her married life, Mildred said she wanted to watch the roof being moved from start to finish - a two day event.

The move brought PPRI one step closer to realizing a dream born some 27 years ago in its articles of incorporation: "To provide a center where persons of mutual interest in the natural history, horticulture, agriculture, human culture, sociology, development and welfare of the plains may exchange ideas for the benefit and welfare of the members thereof and the state and the nation."

The fact the barn roof will remain in Hamilton County and be used for educational purposes gives Mildred great satisfaction.

"That's what we're so happy about - it's going to good use, going to a good cause," she said.

Prairie Plains
Resource Institute

1307 L Street
Aurora, NE 68818
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