BY CHRISTINA McCUNE
Independent staff writer
This is a story about a farm — and the couple who loved it.
One of the black-and-white photos of a young Harold and Sarah Rohr — before they had their five children — shows the couple standing close, holding each other tight, smiling into the camera. In the same way, the Rohrs held on to their land, their heritage and their values for 70 years.
Bought at auction in 1946, over the decades — as the township evolved and developers built roads, shopping centers, office buildings and residential neighborhoods — the Rohr farm stood its ground. Sure, numerous people approached the Rohrs here and there about selling parts of their nearly 100 acres. But they wouldn’t budge.
The couple watched as the rural farmland surrounding their property was replaced with condos and single-family homes on all sides of the farm. An industrial facility is not too far from the property. It wasn’t that they didn’t need the money. The Rohrs worked hard and they had five little mouths to feed. But they held on to their homestead simply because they were dedicated to and loved the land.
For nearly seven decades, people drove along Amherst Avenue NW and could glance out their vehicle windows and take comfort in the familiar site of the Rohr farm.
The farm is bordered by Amherst Avenue NW, Revere Avenue and Beatty Street. Motorists may have noticed trees getting larger each year, and the gently rolling cropland looking different throughout the year depending on whether it was seeding or harvest time.
Harold and Sarah Rohr milked cows until 1959, and then started Black Angus beef cattle in 1962.
If passersby craned their necks, they could see the long driveway from Amherst leading to a peaceful century farmhouse near a charming grape arbor, and surrounded by a huge bank barn, wagon shed and chicken coop.
Today, if you drive by the farm, you will be greeted by a different sight. You may see a field full of vehicles and a couple of tents set up. The farm, including all of its buildings and its open farmland, wooded land and vacant land, is being auctioned to the highest bidder by Kiko Auctions. The auction includes antiques and collectibles, farm tools and furniture.
No doubt about it, it’s an emotional situation — a touching story — but not sad one.
‘RARE REAL ESTATE’
Kiko is advertising today’s auction, which begins at 10 a.m., as an “exciting auction” featuring a “rare real estate opportunity.”
In Stark County, the 99-acre farm is a typical-sized farm. According to the 2007 U.S. Census, Stark County has 1,300 farms. The average size is 106 acres. The total farmland in the county in 2007 was 138,061 acres.