ARTIST AT WORK… Robert F. Kroeger paints a picture of the Rininger Barn in Hillsdale Michigan. (PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER, STAFF)
By: Jacob Kessler
The Bean Creek Valley History Center held a meet the author event at the Fayette Opera House on Thursday, November 11th. The event took place at 7:00 p.m. and welcomed author and artist Robert F. Kroeger. Mr. Kroeger wrote the book Historic Barns of Ohio which contains stories about different barns throughout the state.
The stories tell the history from when the barn was built, who built it and its history after. Mr. Kroeger also paints a picture of each of the barns that he writes about.
Visitors during the event were able to meet and speak to the author and view some of the paintings he has done. Mr. Kroeger also finished painting a picture of the Rininger Barn from Hillsdale Michigan, live for the visitors.
A raffle is being done for the Rininger Barn painting with proceeds going to support the Bean Creek Valley History Center. Books were also for sale with the opportunity to have them signed by the author.
Mr. Kroeger spoke to what got him started painting and writing about barns to begin with. “It started with a weathered grey barn that was tilted about ten degrees.”
“I looked at it and something just came over me that made me want to paint it. I went over to the owners house the next morning and knocked on the door and asked the man who answered to tell me the story of the barn,” said Mr. Kroeger.
Barns have a special place in history throughout not just Ohio, but the country as a whole. In many cases, the barn would be built before the house for farmers. It was also built to be more sturdy due to it containing the family’s livelihood.
“I try to give a portrayal of what our ancestors did for our great state. Without the barn, the farmer couldn’t protect their crops, livestock or equipment and it would have been devastating for their family. I am not even trying to do this; it is just something I have to do. If history isn’t preserved, we forget about it,” said Mr. Kroeger.
The book is currently for sale everywhere. It features 16 pages of color that show the paintings of the barns as well as a story about the barns.
Each county in Ohio is represented with a story to ensure a broad picture of history throughout the state. The raffle for the Rininger Barn is running through December 4th. Tickets are available to purchase by calling 419-388-3518.
Jacob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org