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Auction at The Tremont House Block Party on August 3rd will feature four of Bob Kroeger’s paintings, representing barns in Erie and Huron Counties, to be auctioned, with proceeds benefiting both the Historical Society and Art at 106, Bellevue’s local Artists’ Guild and Gallery Shop. Erie County barns are the Pickett Cherry Barn, now dismantled, which drew customers from all surrounding states to its Portland Rd site, and on Strecker Road, the Tommas barn, a marvelous old fellow with an empty corn crib that begged to be full again, which the painting complied.  In Huron County, the Schwiefurt barn on Sandhill Road which rocked to many dancing feet over the years, and the Roeder barn on Route 20, west of Monroeville, recording its racing history as well as its farming origins. 

The Tremont House Block Party is held on North West Street and in the alley behind the Tremont House, in the center of Bellevue, from 3 to 8 p.m.  The paintings will be auctioned at 5:00, by Baker, Bonnigson Auctioneers.  Join us for the festivities! Food, live music, wine and craft beer tastings, historic displays, a beam signing in the Tremont House, and raffles round out the events of the day.  

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“Champions” (pictured above)
This barn, now serving another purpose as a motorcycle shop, is a sentimental favorite of folks around Bellevue, which is why my barn scouts selected it for my project. It also revolves around the Roeder family, known for their expertise in motorcycle racing.

George Roeder, whose family owned this old barn, is in the American Motorcyle Association’s Hall of Fame, an honor he fully deserves. His older brother, Charles, apparently instilled this passion into George, who, fibbing about his age, began his professional career at 17 in 1954, even though the AMA lists 18 as the minimum. A natural athlete – and a fearless one – he began to win and win again and again. Three years later, he began the 1957 season with a new Harley-Davidson, which he bought for $100, thanks to the generosity of the Ohio H-D dealers association.

During the 1960s he won eight nationals and became a member of the Harley-Davidson racing team, eventually testing one of their experimental engines. In 1965, using this unproven engine, another testament to his courage, he drove  a streamlined H-D 250cc Sprint on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, setting a world record of 177 miles per hour, breaking the previous record of 156 mph. Though this speed record surely excited George, his heart remained in dirt racing, even though he excelled in road racing as well, earning four podium finishes in the Daytona 200 in the early-to-mid 1960s. Roeder never changed his dirt-track racing technique though – by taking most turns with his foot firmly planted on the ground, a style that led to a broken arm in 1968, making him retire … temporarily. When he returned to competition the next year, he broke his ankle.

After he opened the Roeder Harley Davidson distributorship in 1972, also housed in this old barn, located his home town of Monroeville, he slowed down. Two years later, the urge to compete surfaced once again and he returned to racing at the 1974 San Jose Mile.

Unfortunately, the one thing he couldn’t beat took over and, with rising mountains of medical bills, he lost the H-D dealership. He died in 2003, at the age of 66.
However, his racing legacy continued with his sons George II, Will and Jess, champions in their own right. His family continues to run their motorcycle store, Roeder Racing and Service, housed in the same old barn in Monroeville, where they service motorcycles and sell parts and old Harleys.

Their reputation was strong enough to entice the stars of the TV show, American Pickers, to visit the store in early 2016. After Roeder’s daughter learned that American Pickers were coming to Ohio, she sent them a photo of a 1946 Harley Knucklehead motorcycle. Being antique motorcycle buffs, they couldn’t resist, though on their visit they respected the family’s decision not to sell the antique machine. Instead, they bought a 1913 motorcycle engine, an old Harley Hummer motorcycle, and an old H-D shirt for $300 – as well as honoring the family’s rich racing history. Champions all.

For more information on artist Robert Kroeger, go to