152 years and counting
SERGEANT BLUFF – What in the mid-1880s was a potato farm at the outskirts of the Sergeant Bluffs has become one of Iowa’s treasured Heritage Farms for its owner, Sharon Krogh, and her family.
Krogh, her son, Brian and Brian’s children, Justin, Kasey and Stephanie, were sitting in the family’s dining room as heavy rains and wind penetrated the periodic silence within the confines of the Krogh home.
Brian’s sister, Brenda Godredson said the Kroghs were excited to accepting the Heritage Farm honor at the 2016 Iowa State Fair. She said the day had a bittersweet tint due to the absence of her late-father, Dennis Krogh, at the ceremony. He died in February.
“Dad loved his farm like no other farmer I know,” she said. “It was his pride and joy and he was so proud of its heritage. My only regret was that he wasn’t there with the rest of us.
“He loved 4-H as well and never missed a day of our Woodbury County Fair where he could watch my brother and me and later our grandchildren exhibit their projects.”
Brian and Brenda said their children have many farm moments while visiting their grandfather and grandmother. At times, they lent a hand whenever possible.
Sharon Krogh, listening to the conversation, smiled.
“Dennis always wanted to see the farm as a Heritage Farm,” she said. “We had so hoped to get it done before he died, but it didn’t happen that way.
However, he had shared in its earlier recognition as a Century Farm in 2006. Dennis and Sharon Krogh moved to the farm from Homer, Nebraska, in 1983 to begin a small dairy operation.
Despite the disability of a massive stroke at the age of 30 and a previous bout with polio, Dennis Krogh hoped that returning to the family farm would allow him to continue with his love for farming.
“When the opportunity came to move back to where he’d once shared the close relationship with his own grandfather (Max Krogh) and Uncle Don it meant the world to him,” Brian said.
Dennis’ great uncle, Donald Krogh, worked with him at the time.
“Dad had found himself a farm and (was0 making it work,” Brian said. “He could still enjoy driving to a neighbors and the fair, to enjoy music and to watching for eagles from the sunroom.”
The sunroom in the Krogh home and a planned addition from which Dennis could view the farm’s day-to-day activities as his disability increased also allows visibility of one of the lone remaining farm structures, a wooden structure that had once served as a chicken coop.
Another of Dennis Krogh’s pride possessions was a 1934 John Deere A. Brian said this was the first A in Woodbury County and was used for threshing throughout the neighborhood replacing horses.
Dennis Krogh appreciated Brower Lake across the road to the west of the farm, which is nearly dry. The lake was named for Hurlburt and Cornelia Brower, Dennis’ great- great- great-grandparents, who moved there after leaving Outgrows, New York, in spring 1864.
The family traveled by stagecoach with their 14 children to St. Joseph, Missouri and eventually by boat up the Missouri River landing in Sioux City in late fall 1864.
The Brower farm would later be known as a headquarters for Indian supplies with Grandma Brower, as Cornelia was known, serving as a good Sanitarium and doctor for Sergeant Bluffs before arrival of a doctor in the community.
One of the Brower’s daughters, Emma, married Chris Krogh, in 1880 becoming Dennis’s great- great-grandparents. and setting the stage for the 2016 Heritage Farm’s history. Chris Krogh served as an early Sergeant Bluff mayor.
From Chris and Emma, the farm was transferred to Lewis and Sadie Krogh; then to Dennis’s uncle Donald, then to Dennis and now Sharon.
Brian said what the family considers most significant is “the happiness (that) keeps a farmer farming, in this instance, our dad,” he said. “We liked to come here, too, to see Grandpa and Grandma.”
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