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News of Otsego County

shurmer construciton

Century Old Barn Finds New Home
One Man’s History, Another Man’s Treasure

Century Old Barn Finds New Home

By JOE TOPPE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Rick Brockway on the barn’s half-demolished “bridge” that gave hay wagons access to the third floor. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

It was 1897, the same year Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” was published and a gold rush lured scores of prospectors to the Klondike.

Here in Otsego County, Rick Brockway’s great-great grandfather Jesse was driving the final nails into his West Laurens’ dairy barn.

Now, more than 50 years since the family used the barn for farming, only the structure’s frame is worth saving.

“It’s been used as a family storage unit since 1970, but that is no longer economical,” Brockway said in an interview.

“I wanted to refurbish the barn to its original look, but it was too expensive,” he said. “It was a difficult choice, but I talked with my kids and brother in New Mexico before making the decision.”

According to Brockway, it would have cost $100,000 to restore the barn to working condition, “so we tried to sell it, but couldn’t give it away, until we posted it on Facebook in hopes of finding someone interested in salvaging it.”

Originally, the barn cost less than $800 to complete, and required a master carpenter and 13 assistants with room and board to build.

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