This is The Most Unlikely Place in Lewellen, Nebraska.
My husband Dennis, my brother-in-law, Rex Miller, and my sister-in-law, Jean Jensen.
We were all involved in a lot of, a couple of years of economic development meetings,
and after a while, we, kind of, thought we should just do it and start taking action and do less planning and make more direct changes.
We have six buildings all together here.
Buildings were run down and some of them probably would have collapsed if we hadn’t fixed the roof.
The first building that we bought is the one which is now The Most Unlikely Place.
We purchased the building when it was a hundred years old in 2008.
We cleaned it up, took out the ceiling, did some renovating.
The guys spent three months the first winter, just working on this place.
Started as a gallery because the artists needed a place to hang some art.
Our homes were full and our children’s homes were full and it’s time…
Our closets were full.
Dennis is the pastel artist, Jean Jensen paints oils and watercolors, and Rex has all of the wood sculpture.
Then we purchased a coffee machine in order to have, maybe, a little more business and learned how to make coffee drinks.
And then someone suggested that we might have a brunch, a Sunday brunch.
Hi, Jenny. Nice to see you!
Good to see you my dear.
And who did you bring?
My sister, Jean and her husband, John.
When we first opened, there were tables up by the windows.
So, that’s quite a distance. So, I put my skates on in order to get down to the end of the room more efficiently.
Every table has a history and everything has been donated.
We’re happy to take whatever anyone wants to give us.
Many guests say this is the perfect name for this place because it’s unlikely that this place would be here in this little town.
It doesn’t seem to make sense to them. They say, well, this should be in San Francisco or in Vail or somewhere else.
We have all kinds of crafts from local artists. We have an area on the wall for a featured artist each month.
We have local authors. We have book signings and readings occasionally.
She’ll sell our things there and so it brings the artists. I was an artist who was under the table.
I didn’t know, I just did it. I gave it away as presents. I never thought I could ever sell my stuff.
The next door building, which was the old Lewellen Hotel, became available.
It is now Rex’s woodworking shop.
The upstairs part, my sister Jean now has her studio in.
I have really been eyeing it and liking the light and thinking it would be a good studio, but it was, kind of, a mess and needed some work.
So, Rex helped and we, well, he did most of work, so we insulated it and you know cleaned a bunch of junk out of it and I’ve been painting since.
And then, on down the fourth building on the corner, was an old filling station.
It now has a gallery in it that we rented out to a local art club. So they, group of artists, have their gallery there.
When we started actually doing it, we really didn’t have a vision. We didn’t have any goals. We didn’t really know what the building was going to be.
We just started and, kind of, let it evolve into what it became over time.
And we want to create things that we can enjoy ourselves.
And our friends and community can enjoy.
So, we have signage on the highway. We were able to fix up the fronts of the buildings and create some activity in town.
So, it certainly does and it has drawn people into the town.
In the last five years we’ve gotten 49 people, 49 homes sold.
When people see that the town is alive, then they’re more likely to want to live there.
We have pride in our town. This is our home. This is where we’ve all chosen to live.
And so, we will do everything we can to make it into where we want to live.