• Last modified 1107 days ago (May 13, 2021)


Farmstead holds memories of the past

Staff writer

Except for a metal roof, an old barn on the Charlie Unruh farm north of Marion Reservoir retains its original timeworn glory. A milking parlor is attached.

Charlie and his wife, Lynn, have lived there for 45 years. The 30-acre farm sits north of Marion Reservoir and is bordered by 120 acres of Kansas Wildlife and Parks land on three sides. He farmed the 150 acres and worked at Marion Die and Fixture until he retired in 2016.

Bought from John Funk in 1975, the barn had stalls and bunks for feeding cows and calves. It had an overhead rail that dispensed loose hay into the haymow. It later stored 1,500 to 2,000 small square bales. The hay was fed to the cattle below through small openings in the haymow floor.

Unruh never had cattle, so he uses the barn for a workshop and storage. He likes to create metal art from junk, and many pieces can be seen on the barn walls and throughout the farmyard.

To indulge his green thumb, Unruh turned the milk parlor into a greenhouse for plants, complete with natural gas heat and a rainwater system.

“It’s like a winter oasis for me,” he said. “I work in here whenever I want to.”

Some of the plants stay inside all year, and some are placed outdoors during spring and summer.

A satellite dish on top of a tall silo captures Wi-Fi signals from the Lehigh elevator.

“That’s the only way I can get it out here,” he said.

Antique farm machinery lining the edges of the farmstead is constant reminders of years gone by. An old water pump and concrete stock tank sit in the yard.

Charlie farmed with his father, Oliver Unruh, before buying his own farm. That farm sits at the west edge of the reservoir and barely missed being lost, but 80 acres was taken by Wildlife and Parks.

“My dad’s place was surrounded on three sides by Kansas Wildlife and Parks land, just like mine,” he said.

Last modified May 13, 2021