VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – Six months after a local woman bought back a portion of her family farm, generations came together to see the property for the first time in more than 20 years.
In January, Gretchen Francis surprised her mom Gloria by buying back a portion of her family farm. A portion of the Peigowski Farm was claimed by eminent domain 20 years ago to build a ramp for Route 11. The rest of the farm was sold.
“When the eminent domain took the barn and the houses, we lost our front entrance. Now, we have our front entrance back,” Francis said.
They’ve planted 1,500 spruce trees along the property and paved a road through the farm.
“Some of her family members fought and died in World War II, making it important to her to bring back the family to celebrate the Fourth of July on the farm. The two that survived raised their families on the property, and Francis remembers helping out on the farm from a young age.
“This is a good holiday for all of us to be back here because it’s kind of like they’re not here but they are here,” she said.
About a dozen family members gathered to celebrate.
“Unfortunately, the first and second generation isn’t here anymore, but we have the third and fourth and fifth generation here,” Francis said.
It’s the first time the fifth generation has seen the farm since most of them were born after it was sold.
“It’s very fun and I love looking around. It’s very beautiful, too,” said six-year-old Piper.
They got a slow start because of the rain this spring, but the family wants to add a tiny house, eventually rebuild the barn, original family home and chapel–transforming it back into Peigowski Farm.
“We’re at the beginning of the stages, beginning stages of something wonderful,” Francis said.