It’s not normal for one of our sheds to be bought and turned into an outhouse.
It’s definitely not normal for an outhouse to be named after a Swedish Grandmother.
But abnormal things often have an interesting story behind them. This shed/outhouse is no exception. When Kelly Krohn, from Harvey, ND contacted us needing a shed for an outhouse, we started paying attention. Our attention was rewarded.
This is the story of “Gunda’s Outhouse.” But, more than that, this is the story of a family legacy being lived out on the beautiful O & M Crown Morgan Farm in the rural area of North Dakota known as the Peaceful Valley.
Some people know Kelly Krohn as their orthopedic doctor. Others know him as their medical instructor at the University of Arizona in Phoenix. But to the locals from the small town of Harvey, North Dakota he is one of them – the son of the old town drugstore owner and cowboy
Kelly grew up in Harvey, North Dakota where his parents ran the local drugstore in town for over 40 years. His mother was one of 7 kids from a rural family. Kelly clearly remembers visiting his cousins when he was young and having to use the outhouse in the backyard since their families were in a rural setting without indoor toilet facilities.
Kelly’s father was a cowboy at heart. So, Kelly grew up around horses and developed his own love for all things horses, especially Morgan horses. But his father was more than a cowboy; he was also a visionary. And it was this combination of cowboy and visionary that brought about O & M Crown Morgan Farm.
In the 1970’s Kelly’s father purchased a 30-acre farm just a few miles out of town. But it wasn’t much of a farm. The property, which used to be an old boarding school, did not have much on it and was primarily pasture. But his father had a vision and set to work. He added a storage building, put up fences, planted trees, built a driveway, and moved in a gorgeous barn from 20 miles away.
Yes, this barn was not original to this farm. Kelly’s father knew a dairy farmer who got sick and needed to sell out. His father saw potential in the dairy barn, purchased it, then moved it the 20 miles to the farm. He then gutted the first floor, put in horse stalls (of course), a shower room, and a tack room. The barn also had a large loft that his father used for storing hay bales.
This was the beginning of the O & M Crown Morgan Horse Farm. Over the years his father continued to improve the farm and turned it into a beautiful boarding and riding farm for Morgan horses. The farm lies close to the pristine Cheyenne river, a horse riders paradise.
A Horsin’ Around Place
Around 10 years ago, Kelly’s parents were getting to the point where they needed to sell the farm. Kelly had always said he wanted first chance at it, so he bought the farm from them and started developing his own vision for the property.
In reflecting on what Kelly has accomplished on the farm in the last 10 years, his father says, “I built a beautiful horse place, but Kelly has turned it into a beautiful horsin’ aroung place.”
That captures it well. Since taking over the farm, Kelly has spent a lot of energy into turning it into more than just a horse farm. It is now also a retreat and party space where family and friends hook up RV’s, hang out, and “horse around.” Kelly has brought in water and electricity to the property and setup an RV park in the central yard with room for 8 hookups. He added a new steel barn for storage and then turned the former hay loft into a large party space with its own stage, sound system, and bar – a space that has held up to 125 people.
Family and friends really started liking this version of the O & M Crown Morgan Horse Farm.
However, there was a problem, especially for the ladies. There were no toilet facilities.
The idea for a shed outhouse was birthed one night when a group of friends was sitting around the campfire in the farm yard. One of the ladies suggested/complained to Kelly that he really needs to get an outhouse on the property. As they discussed the possibility for this, they came up with the idea to purchase a small shed and turn it into an outhouse.
This is where Northland Sheds comes into the story. Kelly found us through a Google Search and called up Leona in the office. He says, “Leona and I hit off well and we designed it together. It turned out exactly the way I wanted it. We laughed a lot too as we designed it” We were able to match the colors of the shed with the new steel building on the property so that it complements the farm well.
A large family reunion (mom’s side) was planned on the farm so Kelly was eager to get the outhouse setup before the reunion. After we delivered the shed Kelly got busy. He added flooring and interior siding. With the help of his plumber friend, he ran hot and cold water to the shed for a sink and then added a marine composting toilet. This type of toilet, with the help of some peat moss and manual cranking, separates the liquids from the solids and composts the solids, allowing the liquids to drain out into an underground drainage area. It is an ideal solution for a location where there is no septic system.
The outhouse was finished right on time for the family reunion. It was at the reunion, as Kelly and his cousins (yup, the same ones who grew up with an outhouse) reminisced about the past, that they decided to name the outhouse after their Swedish grandmother, Gunda. It may seem strange, at first, to name an outhouse after a delightful lady. But when it is the nicest outhouse in North Dakota and when it captures a heritage of ingenuity and making do with what you’ve got, naming it “Gunda’s Outhouse” makes all the sense in the world.
Kelly tells us that his shed/outhouse has served him well. While the composting toilet has struggled to keep up with the workload when there are groups of 125 partying in the barn loft, it holds up quite well for the normal small groups of family and friends that hang out in the RV yard and around the campfire.
Kelly continues to dream of the next things for O & M Crown Morgan Farm. His next plan is to create an indoor riding arena on the farm. Someday, he hopes to pass on the property to his children, for them to continue the legacy of the farm. Until then, he plans to continue making the occasional visit back to the farm when he needs a peaceful getaway from his busy life as an orthopedic doctor and professor.
Here at Northland Sheds, we take pride in knowing that whenever Kelly Krohn makes the trek back home, Gunda’s Outhouse will be standing strong and sturdy on the property, welcoming him back to this iconic midwestern property.