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The O.K. Luther Barn Moves Across Town Doug Todd Have you ever watched the TV show Mega Movers? Well, recently Williams Midwest House Movers moved a 30-ton barn two miles east of Broken Bow. They moved the barn middle of December, WMHM moved the100-year-old barn. People were so interested that they gathered from all over Nebraska. It took three hours to move the barn two miles down Highway 2. There were people from Chadron, Sutherland, Grant, Hastings, and Blair that helped. Williams Midwest House Movers from Hastings moved the 30-ton barn from is old location through Broken Bow to its final resting place 1/4 miles East of Broken Bow.
It all started with Renee Siefert and a $334,000 grant in 2002. The crew needed $600,000 for the whole thing, which means that they needed to raise another $266,000. The original grant was actually to build a welcome center for highway 2 in Cairo, NE; however, that site fell through. Renee was afraid that they would lose their grant, so she loaded up school bus with group of 35 visionaries. On their retreat, they figured out a plan for creating the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Interpretive Center. Sandy Christiansen said that they had to raise matching funds to supplement the federal grant.
Robert Allen donated the 14 1/2 acres of land that the barn now sits on and Roy and Dot Yanagida donated the barn. It was very nice of them to donate land because land is expensive. It also was nice of Roy and Dot to donate the barn because barns are also expensive. The movers faced some challenges. The driver of the semi truck had to navigate around three stoplights because the barn was too tall to go underneath of them. They had to maneuver under power lines as the Custer Public Powers held them up. They took Highway 2 because it was a straight line to the destination spot. According to Sandra Christiansen, there were a couple hundred people watching from the sidelines. She also said that it took 2 1/2 hours to move the barn. There weren?t any un-foreseen problems, but the foundation of the barn is off by about an inch so they poured the new foundation to match the barn. Moving the barn received tremendous coverage; KBBN radio, the Omaha World Herald, and all the local stations were covering the barn. It even made national news! They used that specific barn because of its history. The also moved it to increase tourism. The main reason they moved the barn was to increase tourism. The barn is currently being remolded to make the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Interpretive Center. They have made plans to create a museum that focuses on the western settlement. The land will have native grasses and will hold artifacts from all over Nebraska. It took a three-year plan to achieve the three-hour move that will remind future generations of the contributions made to settle the west.
The stair well leading up to the upstairs of the Barn.