The alpaca barn
The cabin today
The cabin prior to renovation
The Heritage Farm House
Owners Tim & Beth Sheets
Then & Now
Farm Layout Map
Click here for a farm layout map
As visitors approach our farm on County Road 400 , they have no doubt that that have arrived at Heritage Farm. The big red gambrel barn with the brown Suri on the roof beckons them to investigate the real alpaca treasures inside. The barn is one of three historic structures on the farm. Our barn that was selected as one of the top-ten Bicentennial barns in the state in 2016. Recently, our farm was the recipient of the John Arnold Rural Preservation Award from the Indiana Landmarks Foundation.
The Suri Barn was built in 1904 by a local barn builder named Otho Rodkey. It was primarily constructed using 12 x 12 hand-hewn oak timbers that were recycled from a dismantled barn. We appreciate the history and workmanship of old barns and had a desire to preserve and utilize it for our alpacas, even though a new "pole barn" may have been more efficient. We have nothing against pole barns, but they just do not have the character of an old gambrel barn!
In 2003, we invested in a new roof. Again, we stayed away from many recommendations to cover it with steel and instead opted for an interlocking diamond-shaped, asphalt shingle. The shape of this shingle allows designs to be incorporated into the installation. We chose an Indiana roofer that has done many of the Art Roof barns around the midwest. Tim designed the roof on diamond shaped graph paper and created a stylized suri alpaca using the diamond shaped shingles to give the impression of twisted suri locks. The other side of the roof is an "H" superimposed on top of an "F" for Heritage Farm. It was a lot of fun seeing how it turned out and needless to say, we have a one-of-a-kind roof!
The Lovelace Cabin
Take a look at our farm logo at the top left of this page. We chose a rendition of a log cabin to convey our identity. But it is not just any cabin. The Lovelace Cabin at Heritage Farm represents a valued part of our heritage. It reminds us every day of our agricultural roots, solid values and the importance of faith and family.
Here’s the story: In 1987, Beth’s parents, Bob and Nelda Lovelace owned what is now Heritage Farm. Beth and Tim live in Indianapolis at that time and were involved in their health care careers. Even so, we would often visit the farm on weekends, longing for a time when we could enjoy the farm more often.
One day, a neighboring farmer approached Beth’s dad and told of a discovery he had made. While clearing an old homestead on his property, he discovered that the old white clapboard farmhouse was hiding an antique treasure underneath all that siding and plaster. He revealed the hand-hewn poplar logs of two story log cabin; perfectly preserved by it’s modern coverings. He went on to say that he wasn’t interested in the cabin, and he asked if Bob wanted it. Bob knew that both Beth and Tim were interested in early American History and after a family discussion, we all decided that this would be a great project—something that would bring us back to the farm and provide hours of family time in restoration work!
We hired a house mover to move the cabin down 3 miles of country roads to its current location on the farm. After a couple of seasons of restoration, we held our first family Christmas gathering in the cabin.
Through the years, we’ve had many more gatherings. We enjoy sharing with clubs, school and church groups and anyone who wants to experience a little bit of the past and enjoy the serenity of the farm. We are in the process of renovating the cabin again to make it a more comfortable guest house for our customers and boarders to use when they visit the farm.
Several time a year we build a big, crackling fire in the fireplace on a cold winter night and just sit in front of it basking in the warm glow of candle light. As the firelight dances off those big old logs, we imagine what it must have been like to live the without the comforts and conveniences we enjoy today. We think about how those families toiled to survive harsh Indiana winters and the hot, humid summers. Families spending all of their time together; parents directly involved in every aspect of raising their kids and instilling life-long gifts of faith and values. We also think about the good times they must have had. They had to invent much of their own fun and entertainment. But they did just fine. And I actually think they were better off in many ways.
Heritage Farm House
Many of us live in houses that have a story. We think our 2 story federal style brick home has a special story because of family connections. It's gone through some changes over its 150 years, but it still maintains the strength and character the original builder planned for.
When Beth's parents bought the farm 50 years ago, the old brick house was the last structure Bob inspected. He was much more interested in the condition of the barn for housing his prized Hereford cattle than the roof over his own head. You might get the picture that the house was in pretty bad shape. Beth's mom, Nelda, would attest to that! Neglected and empty for several years, the house was now home to varmints of many kinds. Plaster was pealing off the walls and ceilings and the stairway to the second story was so narrow and twisted that it would be impossible to get furniture upstairs. They recognized that the structure itself was sound with solid 3-brick-thick walls so the renovation didn't deter them.
With patience and care, the couple restored the house to its original stateliness and included some modern improvements. Nelda painstakingly refinished the solid walnut woodwork and the built-in 9 foot tall cabinets. Walls were replastered and repainted. The narrow stairway was opened up to gain access to the upstairs. The house was now ready to be called a home.
When we bought the farm in 1998, we made a few more improvements, intentionally keeping with the character of the historic place. We added a bathroom upstairs and doubled the size of the kitchen. But the improvement we enjoy the most is the dining area off the kitchen. With wall to wall windows on two sides (see picture), we can sip our morning coffee and enjoy a panoramic view of Heritage farm and our wonderful alpacas. Does life get any better than this?!