Barn quilt features nature’s seasons

Shawano County’s 395th barn quilt, called “Nature’s Seasons,” is on display on a newly painted barn owned by Gary Anderson at N6367 County Road C, Cecil. In addition to the multi-colored leaves, the quilt pattern includes a cross, which Anderson looks at as sort of a guardian over his farm.

After having his barn painted, Anderson contacted Jim Leuenberger, Shawano County barn quilt project coordinator, about getting a barn quilt.

“I’m definitely interested in enhancing my home and the rural aesthetics of Shawano County,” Anderson said. “I think the quilt turned out really nice.”

Anderson’s grandfather, Nels Anderson, bought the farm for Gary’s parents in April 1949, the same month they were married. It’s been in the Anderson family for 73 years, by far the longest holder of the property, per the abstract, since the property was transferred from the original title holders — the United States of America to the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad Company in July 1859.

The property, consisting of 80 acres, was transferred numerous times, including to what appears to be a holding company, and also a bankruptcy, until it finally settled in the possession of James Simpson for the consideration of $160 in 1883. Simpson held the property until 1889 when the south 40 acres, the parcel which now includes the buildings, was sold to Ida Gardner for $700.

“I believe the original part of the house, which still stands, was built between 1883 and 1889, resulting in a significant increase in value during that time frame,” Anderson said.

In 1910, Emil Noffke purchased the north half of the same south 40 acres along with the north 40 acres, thus reconstituting the farm as 60 acres, of which it still consists today. The Noffke family owned the farm until 1925. Aside from the Andersons, the Noffkes were the previous longest-term holders of the property.

The farm’s abstract shows that, in 1933, an easement was granted to the property for the Wisconsin Michigan Power Company to put in a power line, so that is probably when electricity was added to the property.

Over the next 14 years, the property changed hands several times until Gary’s grandfather purchased it in 1949. Following the death of Nels, it was deeded to Gary’s parents, Ralph and Cora Anderson.

The original buildings, consisting of the house, barn and machine shed, are still standing pretty much as they did when Gary’s grandfather acquired the property, although a minor addition was added to the barn in 1984, along with a new milkhouse.

When Anderson was a child, there was no running water in the house, but indoor plumbing was added by his parents in 1965. Significant improvements were also made to the barn in the 1980s in order to bring it up to the higher operating standards required at that time.

Anderson purchased the farm from his parents in January 1963 and operated it as a dairy farm with 65 dairy cows and an equal number of young stock until he sold the cattle in 1997. Since then, he has operated the farm as a cash crop operation along with other rented land.

Anderson has always had an affection for horses, which have been a fixture on the farm since 2000. He is planning on making major improvements to the house starting this fall.

Anderson’s barn quilt was painted by the Shawano County barn quilt committee and was put on display by LeRoy and Keenan Raddant, both of whom work for Raddant Electric in Shawano.