Thirty-five years after leaving the family farm, John Cline Jr. is back to make the once-flourishing property successful again.
After his father died, Cline came back to revitalize the homeplace. "My dad would be shocked to think that I am now a fifth-generation farmer," Cline said.
Cline's ancestors started the farm in 1857 and Cline said he wants to pass it on to his two sons, who have also said they want to keep it. The house was built in 1925 and the property also includes a granary, which is being used in the nursery operation, along with a barn and corncrib that were renovated with old wood and windows that were recovered and reused on the property. A two-room schoolhouse from 1898 was torn down and the building materials were recovered in the process, Cline said. "We took the wood and recycled it to see if we could get another hundred years out of it" "We've tried to take everything back to kind of how it was in the '20s and wanted to keep it as original as possible and add a little newness to it"
Because there wasn't enough land to run a full-fledged farm on the 2-acre spread, Cline decided to turn the place into a nursery that now specializes in Japanese maples. At least 32 different cultivars, from tall to short, broad- to lacy-leafed and colors that go from green to bronze-brown, grow at the nursery.