Lanny Simpkins builds model of Grandpa's house 2011.03.02

Written by David Green. Posted in Feature Stories

house_overviewEvery so often Lanny Simpkins hears the question “Have you made anything new yet?”

He’s mostly had to say “no” over the last couple of years, but his answer changed recently.

Now he has a new model of his grandfather’s farmhouse that once stood near Ogden Center.

The house will join his models of a barn and a few outbuildings for display at this year’s annual conference of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network.

Dan Creyts of Charlotte, a board member of the group, saw Lanny’s display last summer at the Thresher’s Convention in Wauseon. Creyts wanted that barn on display for this year’s conference March 11-12 at the Kellogg Center on the MSU campus.

Lanny’s grandfather, Fred Shaffer, lived in the house west of Ogden Center until he left to live in a nursing home. The home deteriorated over the next few years, Lanny said, and was eventually demolished. Not a trace of the home site remains.

Not a photograph remains, either, as far as Lanny knows, so his miniature construction is based completely on his memory.

interior“I’m sure I forgot something,” Lanny said, “but it’s pretty close.”

Lanny started the project in early December and completed the two-story house last week. He fabricated pieces from poplar and pine, and only purchased Plexiglass for the windows.

Lanny still needs to build the little coal shed to complete his grandpa’s homestead, but at least one other important feature is complete. He built the three-hole outhouse long ago.

• Programs at this year’s Michigan Barn Preservation Network conference include a photographic display of heritage barns; agritourism; preserving heritage barns in miniature; finding hidden treasures at a farm site; restoration case studies; historical markers; and more.

To register for the conference, visit the website www.mibarn.net.

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