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BOW VALLEY, Neb. (AP) — Family memories and sentimentality spurred Wendy Krie to rejuvenate her maternal grandmother’s Bow Valley home.

“There are so many stories here about this home I just couldn’t bear to tear it down,” Krie said. “I decided I wanted to keep its story alive and make new memories.”

Believed to be one of the oldest houses, if not the oldest, in Bow Valley, it has served many residents over the years.

The Norfolk Daily News reports that Krie convinced her husband, Kris, it could be a great destination location for people passing through the area. In their “spare” hours, the couple renovated the 800-square-foot main floor.

“We did the work because I wanted it done my way,” Krie said.

She kept the original hardware where she could and consulted her grandmother about how things were way back when.

Krie wanted to keep the early 1900s character of the house. Along the way, she found some treasures that were incorporated in the renovation — like a floor medallion used probably as a floor heating vent or cold air return vent.

She used the 24-inch medallion as a mantel showcase and the claw foot tub is original to the early 20th century house. She found several period pieces to fill in the living area at auctions and rummage sales.

The house was built on lots that first held the local foundry around 1900. This foundry made the bricks for the century-old St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, which still stands on the top of a high hill in the small northeast Cedar County town.

When the church was completed, the foundry was tore down and lots were sold. Many of the bricks used in the Kries’ renovation were bricks made at that foundry.

The man who built the house in 1905 was an engineer. He constructed the house with several unusual characteristics, like the wooden basement floor.

Water in the basement after rain is common, but the floor was erected so the water seeps quietly away in a short time.

Over the years, the local doctor used it to deliver babies until the 1960s. One of the last babies delivered there still lives on a farm northeast of Bow Valley near St. James.

The Kries rented if for a while from her parents. For 12 years, it was the local daycare. Recent renters used the walls as paintball targets.

It was then that Krie knew there was a better purpose for this quaint home.

Now after five gallons of paint and lots of back-breaking labor, the renovation is finished and the fun is beginning.

The North Crick Lodge opened in March, and from May through August, the vacation getaway was booked solid.

A ham radio operator came to the quiet home to set up his equipment and participate in a nationwide ham radio contest because he needed a high point to broadcast.

Three friends from larger cities found this lodge to be a central meeting place and met to spend a weekend together, walking the quiet Bow Valley streets and reconnecting.

Juggling work with Krie being a pediatric home health nurse and her husband working at a manufacturing plant in Hartington, the couple also is raising six children, along with the Nigerian goats and free-range chickens in their backyard garden and orchard next door.

Guests are welcome to visit the garden for fresh vegetables or fruit in season and fresh eggs are provided.

The couple named the lodge as a tribute to a Bow Valley tradition. A small creek runs through the small community and over the years, friendly give and take between the people who lived on the north side of the crick and those on the south side has made many memories like pool tournaments and block parties.

“The home is on the north side of the creek, so naturally it became North Crick Lodge,” Krie said with a laugh.


Information from: Norfolk Daily News,