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Farmstead receives facelift

This rural Fairbury barn was recently renovated / CIFN photo.

A rural Fairbury farmstead passed down through the generations now boasts a newly-restored barn.

George Cuddeback, originally from Prairie City, settled the farm along the Livingston County line in the late 1800s. The current owners have restored the exterior of a former sheep barn on the property.

“My Uncle Joe, as far as I know, never raised anything but sheep. That barn was always used to raise sheep in,” explained Tom Harms, whose mother owns the structure.

Harms is not positive on the year the barn was built, although his son found online that it was erected in 1952.

Prior to the restoration effort, the south lean-to section of the barn caved in and the building was starting to show its age. A west wing was added years after it was built to store wagons and other pieces of farm equipment. Part of the barn is actually made of timber wood.

Harms will not rule out future uses for the barn, such as family events or other activities.

“With some of these older barns, people like to have a wedding in there or something like that,” Harms added.

The Harms family also restored a nearby 1956 curved roof machine shed. According to Harms, a crib on the farmstead will likely be restored next summer.

“We are going to clean the place up somewhat and who knows what might happen in the future with it.”

Cuddeback reportedly slipped while plowing a nearby field and died after the incident. That’s when Harms’s grandfather obtained ownership of the farmstead. The property has been passed down through the generations ever since. Ruby Vance Harms is the current owner.

“To us, it was more important to restore the building than to tear it down and build a new one because there was so much history to it,” Harms said.

John Zimmerman of Fairbury did the restoration work.

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