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Chamber & County News


What Happened On A Nebraska Farm In The 1980s Will Blow Your Mind

With our community spirit and can-do attitudes, there’s nothing Nebraskans can’t do when we set our minds to it. The perfect example occurred in the small town of Bruno in 1988. Herman Ostry and his family had a barn that needed to be moved out of the way of flood waters. After obtaining quotes from moving companies, the family decided that they couldn’t afford to have the barn moved the conventional way. So they did what any other Nebraskan family would do: they came up with a crazy plan and then asked their neighbors to pitch in.

Herman's son figured that the barn weighed approximately 6,640 pounds. If a large group of people were to physically pick up the barn to move it, the weight each person had to carry would be manageable. He figured that the steel grid needed to stabilize the barn and give people handholds would add an additional 3,100 pounds, making the total weight just under 10 tons. If 350 people pitched in to pick up the barn and move it, each one would only need to carry about 55 pounds. Because we Nebraskans are such helpful people - and because, let's face it, we love being part of a good story - 344 volunteers stepped up to do the job.

The town of Bruno incorporated the unconventional barn “raising” into their centennial celebration in July of 1988. It really was a perfect example of the community coming together to support a neighbor. On the day of the move, more than 4000 spectators turned up to watch the event. News crews even came out to catch the whole event on film. It only took a few minutes to move the barn from its original location to its new foundation on higher ground. From the looks of it, the barn movers had a great time taking part in this memorable project.

Watch the move here: