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Mason County Memories

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Barns part 3 History column Dave Petersen The Stony Hill Farm is owned by Fred and Bunny Bentz and according to the abstract which dates prior to 1855 there have been nine owners to William Bentz in 1910. William died young and in 1938 when Herman Bentz I was working in Muskegon his mother offered him the farm before she lost it if he would come back to Mason County. Going back a few years, after the property was initially sold in 1859 to Job Sherman it changed hands quickly passing to Sidney and then Richard Sherman. In that same year of 1865 Richard sold to Eugene Shreiner. It was not until the property was purchased in 1868 by Charles Dahn Senior that anyone held it for any length of time. The Dahn's kept the farm until 1904 when it passed back into the hands of Eugene Schreiner. Fred spoke of the barn and recalled, "I personally like to see all of the wooden dowels and notchings made to connect the beams." It also brings back a lot of memories of doing chores with my Dad. We didn't have water in the barn and one of the daily chores was to haul water for the dairy and beef cows we had for family use. We had small round bales of hay that we could roll over to the cattle and I had to of course clean the stalls." When asked about any good "stories" about the barn Fred related; "The barn has never been painted, however a traveling group of gypsy painters convinced my father to paint the roof black. Every time it rained the black paint would run like a woman's bad hair dye job. Within two years you could not tell that it had ever been painted." In 1972 Tom and Yvonne Beatty traded their home in Ludington for the one on Conrad road. At that time the farm was owned by Fred and Evelyn Dostal. They had purchased the farm about 1965 from the Andersons who had owned the Danish Bakery in Ludington. Fred's daughter Nancy related that at the time that he purchased it the property had been vacant for a number of years and he put a great deal of effort into repairs and restoration in the seven years that he owned it. From 1965 to 1972 the barn hosted Fred Dostal's name but it was changed to Amber Acres, currently the farm is known as "Trillium Creek Gardens." The name comes from Tom and Yvonne's hobby of raising flowers and the memory of walking along the creek that runs across Victory Corners Road to see the Trilliums bloom in the spring. The original house on the property was located to the right of the barn and it burned to the ground. The house which replaced it was a mail order house from Sears Roebuck and was delivered by railroad. The barn may also be a Sears & Roebuck kit but the Beatty's have been unable to determine the origin with certainty. There have been a few renovations over the years, Fred Dostal added a workbench and a cement floor so he would have a place to do his wood working. The original cedar roof has been replaced with shingles and the lightning rods were placed back on the roof. The stately barn has been continuously painted red with white trim When asked about the things that they love about their barn Yvonne says " One of the beautiful features about the barn is the gabled roof with the wide overhangs." The barn is 36x30 x 38' high. The large opening on the north side is 20x20'. This allowed horse drawn wagons to be backed into the barn to be unloaded. The large door on the south can be opened up as well which gives a beautiful view of the fields through the carriage house barn." Many of the original features are still present in the barn today, wooden chutes to move the hay down to the cattle, the pulley system in the peak of the barns roof, there are pens, stalls and grain bins to be examined and explored. They were a 4-H family and their children made good use of the barn and raised calves, and had a horse, the family also had a nursery business and used the barn as a working area to count seedlings. I'm looking for photographs of the County poor farm for next weeks column. If you have any stories or photographs you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240 davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail in care of Ludington Daily News PO Box 340 Ludington Mi 49431 Pic 1 Stony Hill Farm Barn owned by Fred & Bunny Bentz Pic 2 Cherry Hill farm Barn circa 1930 is across the street from the Bentz Farm and owned by Roger and Karen Hansen Pic 3 The infamous black roof on Bentz's Stoney Hill Farm Barn Pic 4 The Trillium Creek Gardens Barn owned by Tom & Yvonne Beatty

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