Round barn shapes up as ‘showpiece’ after big move to Vesperman Farms

LANCASTER, Wis. — All eyes were on the big red barn.

This week, Vesperman Farms moved a nearly 60-foot barn several miles from its initial home on County Road N south of Lancaster to Stage Road. The neighbors couldn’t help but come out to watch, driving slowly to catch a glimpse of the barn.

“It was quite a process of figuring out the angles,” Russ Childs, of Heritage Movers, said.

That’s primarily because the barn doesn’t have angles. It’s completely round.

The Grant County structure moving company loaded the barn onto a truck, creeping slowly forward over the course of two days, avoiding roads and instead crossing six farms.

Now it’s to become the “showpiece” of Vesperman Farms, a farm, event venue and fall attraction featuring a corn maze and pumpkin patch.

The origins of the barn are unknown. It dates back to the early 1900s and is likely at least 100 years old. For many years, the farm on County Road N was home to the Weisbenner family.

Kyle Vesperman, of Vesperman Farms, said that when the Weisbenners bought the land in the 1930s, the barn was already there.

By 2019, the barn was outdated enough that it had lost much of its value as a farm building. There was talk of dismantling it, Vesperman said.

“It was maintained, but it’s just become a non-usable building,” Vesperman said. “We’re giving it a new life.”

Because he had already moved several smaller sheds and buildings from around the area onto his farm, neighbors came to Vesperman with the idea of saving the barn.

“I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, that is quite the undertaking,’” Vesperman said.

The Heritage Movers started early Tuesday morning, halting at a power line at around 2 p.m. that afternoon.

“With our company, I’m the third generation and my boys will take over as the fourth generation,” Childs said. “We’ve been doing this for quite a while, but this is the first time we’ve moved a round barn.”

Vesperman said: “There’s a dairy farm halfway through that we needed to get up to the line, get the power shut off and get the barn through and get the lines back up and get the power turned back on in order for him to not even miss his milking.”

The farm had hoped to move the barn last year, but winter-type conditions ended too quickly and the opportunity was missed when the weather warmed and the fields became busy with agricultural activity.

Vesperman said that back in 2019, when rumors first started flying that he was looking at the barn, people would stop to talk to him about it everywhere he went.

“I would get approached by people at the bank, at the grocery store,” Vesperman said. “I was at Kwik Trip (Wednesday) morning and I barely got out because everybody was approaching me asking how this thing was and saying how great it was what we were doing with the barn.”

Vesperman Farms plans for the barn to be enjoyed by visitors.

“People have driven by this thing for generations and now it’s going to be something that people can go inside,” Vesperman said. “We’d love to have people sit inside this round barn. You can look up and have a hot chocolate or cider and relax with your family and friends while you’re here.”