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Farmstead house in Gering shares story of life on the high plains

GERING, Neb. (KOLN) – The next time you are in Gering, you’ll want to take a tour of the Wiedeman House, and get a taste of farm life in Nebraska’s Panhandle.

We talked with Susan Wiedeman about the house that now sits on the grounds of the Legacy of the Plains Museum. “My grandfather built this house, and it was right on the edge of Gering,” Wiedeman said. “He bought the farm in 1926. He was an immigrant from Russia, and he came to the U.S. through Canada. He built the barn first because the horses did a lot of the work then, so they were important. The family lived in the hay loft. They family stayed there for about 6 months until the house was completed.”

When the house was built, it had all of the modern conveniences for its time. “The kitchen is originally in the basement of this house,” Wiedeman said. “It was built that way intentionally. You did a lot of cooking, and that was the coolest part of the house. The kitchen countertop is not even three feet high. My grandmother was only 5 feet tall, so it was custom-built for her. In the 1930′s, they had indoor plumbing, because they had their own septic system. They were on electricity from the city of Gering. They had telephone service, and again it was all because of the proximity to the city of Gering.”

Wiedeman says her parents Betty and Ed Wiedeman got married and moved into the house in 1945. Her grandparents moved to another place. But when her parents moved to a different house, her grandparents moved back but did a number of updates, including bringing the kitchen upstairs, and instead of having three bedrooms in a row, a bathroom was put in, and closets were made bigger in two of the bedrooms.

When you visit the house, you will see that the downstairs still showcases the 1930′s era. But the upstairs is where the updates were made, so the interior design is in a 1950′s style. Many family members of the Wiedemans lived in the house over the years. Eventually, a healthcare business wanted to build a new facility where the farmstead was located. In exchange for selling the land, Heritage Healthcare donated the farmstead buildings. The Legacy of the Plains Museum helped move all of the buildings to the museum grounds. “My aunt Ruth, who lives in Denver, helped underwrite much of the cost of that,” Wiedeman said. Now the house is on display for the public to enjoy at the