Hunting lodge near Brewster, Kan., will be ‘John Deere industrial chic’
for The Fence Post
“It’s all about John Deere-green,” said Tom Gold, a Boulder, Colo., building contractor as he prepared to begin a whirlwind remodel of an historic rural western Kansas hunting lodge in colors familiar to John Deere green and yellow.
“I’m calling my contractor and we’re going to make up a material list, and line up my crew. We’ll roll in and start jockeying everybody’s schedules,” said Gold, a store manager with County Line Lumber Co. located on the county line between Boulder and Weld counties in Colorado.
Gold calls the hunting lodge renovation “John Deere industrial chic.” He said some of the top designers in Boulder are helping renovate and give TLC (tender loving care) to the historic house, which is located south of Interstate 70, about 15 miles south of Brewster, Kan., on the Sherman/Thomas county line. “It sits in the middle of nowhere; out in a corn and milo field between Goodland and Colby, Kan.,” Gold said. “We are heavily endorsed by the Colby chapter of the Pheasants Forever organization, who all make the habitat and bird-hunting better.”
“I’m really, really excited about the project. The exterior field will be John Deere green, all window trim will be John Deere yellow, all other exterior components will be John Deere Blitz Black, and the garage will be done in galvanized architectural metal,” Gold said.
“We’re pretty proud, God bless America. Is there a bigger element, than John Deere green,” Gold said.
Amazingly, the project is expected to be completed in a week’s time, and due to a recent snow delay — they hope to start the renovation by mid-April. “One of the designers worked with me on a $6 million home in Boulder,” Gold said. “I’ve worked with others who are the framing and exterior crews. I do the construction of the group.”
The lodge, Gold said, is in need of a new exterior and new windows. “The outside has been kind of let-go, and now these guys have time to do the job.” In addition to Gold, three of his partners with County Line Lumber will assist with the remodel. Bill Dowde, the accountant for the property, farms 120 acres in Boulder County, and will help by doing the accounting for the project,” Gold said. “It’ll be our ‘little house on the prairie.’ We’ve had birthdays out there, and other celebrations and events.” Cedar Creek Corp. based in Englewood, Colo., is donating some of the materials.
Other than being used for hunting, the house, which sleeps 12, has been sitting fairly quiet for the last 15 years. “We bought it from the Crumbaker’s over 15 years ago,” Gold said. “That’s the family who built it in 1926. They held a lot of church retreats there.” The owners, Ray and Linda Crumbaker sold it and moved to Kansas City, Mo., to be closer to family.
Interestingly, the structure is one of the well-known longtime Crumbaker’s houses, and sits on Crumbaker Conservation Reserve Program land. The Crumbakers were the original family owners of the house.
The lodge is an original Sears Catalog house from the 1920s. “There were house kits offered by Sears Roebuck and Co. that you could purchase from one of their catalogs and you modularize them,” Gold said. “They resemble a square box structure with a pyramid roof, and they were pretty sturdy.”
SEARS’S MODERN HOMES
From the Sears website, the Sears house kits are described in detail. “A family arrived at a railroad station to welcome the first shipment of their brand-new house. An entire home was delivered by railroad including all the pre-cut lumber, nails and varnish, even the carved staircases, and instructions to assemble and build. Many families built them, after selecting a particular house from choices in the Sears, Roebuck and Company’s catalog. One such choice came with two bedrooms and a cobblestone foundation, and a front porch — but no bath. Other more expensive house kits came with an inside bathroom.”
The website http://www.searsarchives.com/homes/history.htm, noted that, “Sears provided all the materials and instructions, and for many years the financing, for homeowners to build their own houses. Sears’s Modern Homes stand today as living monuments to the fine, enduring and solid quality of Sears craftsmanship. No official tally exists of the number of Sears mail-order houses that still survive today. It is reported that more than 100,000 houses were sold between 1908 and 1940 through Sears’s Modern Homes program. The keen interest evoked in current homebuyers, architectural historians, and enthusiasts of American culture indicate that thousands of these houses survive in varying degrees of condition and original appearance,” according to the Sears website.
Gold remembers the day he had the revelation to turn the quaint, sturdy, but worn old Sears structure into a proud, shiny new exterior with gleaming John Deere tractor colors.
“It was January 15, 2018, my dog was diagnosed with bone cancer, and I was outside and wondered how I could make my stand in this world. I saw a John Deere tractor, and thought, ‘You can’t get much more American than John Deere tractors,’ and so we were already in the process of re-doing the exterior of a bed and breakfast, which has been called, Inn the Fields, LLC.”
Keeping the lights on, and the furnace running — is important to Gold. “There’s a big stone fireplace. The only thing I’ll completely re-do is the outside facade, all new siding, new trim. The inside will stay the same,” Gold said.
“I feel there will be more people who will enjoy seeing it. Inn the Fields will still be a private facility,” Gold said. “But, when others drive by just to see the new look; showcasing John Deere colors, I feel, what will stand out the most, will be preserving American pride and our expressionism — that’s the purpose.” ❖
— Hadachek is a freelance writer who lives on a farm with her husband in north central Kansas and is also a meteorologist and storm chaser. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.