Meet the Owner
Lois Schrunk, along with her husband Ellis, owns and manages Sandhills Hideaway. Her son Steven, and Steven's wife Janna, moved from Aurora several years ago to help out. Lois resides just down the road, 15 miles from Elgin. She enjoys scrapbooking and playing the piano and organ. Ellis enjoys gardening and woodworking, and they both enjoy all the wonderful and interesting people they meet, appreciating that the family home is shared and enjoyed by many.
As told by the owner, Lois Schrunk:
The story or history of the guest house began with the birth of my grandfather, Ephriam Grant Squire at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, June 1863, the 6th of 16 or 17 children born to E.M. and Paulina Squire.
E.M. was a school teacher and a surveyor. Towns he surveyed included Manhattan and Lawrence, Kansas. After various moves, traveling by covered wagon, they settled in Newman Grove, Nebraska, where E.M. surveyed ground. After the Homestead Act came into being, Eph decided to secure a homestead in Wheeler County. He proved up on a piece of land in northeast Wheeler County in 1885 and built a "soddy," where his parents would later live with him.
In July 1900, he and Mary Heany of Newman Grove were married in O'Neill, Nebraska, and shortly thereafter, she proved up on her own homestead land (160 acres), which joined Eph's land. You had to live on your land for a period of time to "prove up," so I think their first dwelling was on the line joining the two pieces of land.
The Squires were the parents of 5 children, my mother Mary being 3rd in line. A new house was built in 1916 but was destroyed by a tornado just two years later on May 18, 1918. The house was replaced by the present house, known today as Sandhills Hideaway.
Mary and her husband Earl Rossow and their 3 children returned from Cedar Rapids and purchased the land, the Squires retiring to Oakdale. After the deaths of my parents, we purchased the small ranch and after a suggestion from a friend, it became Sandhills Hideaway guest house, so the house and surroundings could be enjoyed by those who choose to stay there.