FLOYDS KNOBS — Southern Indiana was a much different place in 1906.
Back then, the population of Floyd County hovered around 30,000, less than half of today's figure. In the more than 100 years since, Larry Buechler's family lineage has been there to witness it all.
The same land farmed by Buechler today was first purchased that year by his great-grandparents, Adam and Elizabeth Poff.
“There were no buildings here, just bare land for 90 acres," Buechler said. "In 1907, the house was built. The house is the only original building left."
That house has a story to tell, too. A long one, at that, with generation after generation of the family having since lived in it.
“Our kids are the fifth generation to live here in this house," Buechler said. "That doesn’t happen too often.”
This year, Buechler and his wife, Bette, are being recognized by Floyd County and Indiana officials for their family's long-held presence on the hill, which is stretching into its 103rd year.
In Floyd County, they were one of 17 honorees whose families have been on the same land for a century or longer. At the state level, the requirements were a little more stringent.
“The state award is for 100 plus years of continuously farming it, which we are," Buechler said. "My wife had to do some research to prove all of that.”
He and his wife married in 1971, beginning a small farming operation of their own shortly afterward. By 1976, Buechler graduated from using his father's equipment to buying his own.
The pair started an agriculture business in 1980, where they sold "just about anything you need to raise a crop on a farm." They continued the business for 38 years before retiring Dec. 31 of last year.
During that time, they came into possession of the old family farm as well, becoming the the fourth generation to do so.
“My great-grandma on my dad’s side is where this farm came from," Buechler said. "My grandpa Buechler and my grandma Poff bought it, and they kept it in the family. Dad bought it in 1969. He and mom kept it up until 1998 or 1999. That’s when me and my wife took over. That blood connection has always been there.”
Though the Buechlers have retired from their business, they still farm the land. Only what they "feel like we can handle," as Buechler puts it.
Looking back on his years on the family homestead, Buechler said he has seen quite a few changes in the area. Many of them have to do with the difference in today's farming versus that of years past.
“The biggest change is when I was a kid, everybody had an acre or two of strawberries up here," Buechler said. "You’d pick your berries and take them over to Floyds Knobs to sell them. One of the places was where the first Berry Twist was. We would see these people out picking in the fields when we were going there with ours. Now, those fields all have houses on them.”
The landscape itself has altered dramatically, Buechler said. His once quiet plot of land tucked away in the hills of Floyds Knobs has since become quite a bit busier.
“What’s subdivisions now was farm land back then," Buechler said. "When I was a kid, this road down here, there were two or three cars that’d go by in the morning. It was people we knew going to work. Those same cars would come back in the afternoon. The only person that’d come by in the middle of the day was the mailman.”
Those days he spent as a child growing up on the farm are something he wouldn't trade for the world.
“I think you learn a lot," Buechler said. "You’ve got to be an electrician, you’ve got to be a plumber, you’ve got to be a mechanic. You’ve got to do it all. You learn that from the ground up. My dad had to do it. When you live in the city, you may not know how to do a lot of that stuff. You get good, common sense decision making."
Following in the footsteps of his ancestors before him was always a no-brainer for Buechler. It was something he always knew he wanted to do, and he has the receipts to prove it.
“Mom kept everything," Buechler said. "When they passed away, we went over there and cleaned out the house and found a lot of stuff. We found a letter I wrote when I was in grade school. In this letter, we were talking about what we wanted to do when we grow up. I wrote that I wanted to be a farmer. I’ve always known."