Keep updated with the lastest news from the barn preservation community.
William J. Kimball PhD, or Bill as we knew him, recently departed this life at the age of 87 in Lansing, Michigan on May 24, 2013. He was born on October 6, 1925 to Elmer and Gladys Kimball in Seymour, Wisconsin.
This post submitted by Jeffrey Marshall, Vice-President of the NBA and Board Member of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania. His real job as President of the Heritage Conservancy keeps him pretty busy too. Marshall is one of three NBA members speaking at the CT Trust’s “Celebration of Barns” in Old Saybrook, CT on June 7 and 8, 2013. Come out and join in the fun!
Barn preservation issues in southeastern Pennsylvania seem to come in waves. This week I am dealing with the fate of three barns in Bucks County.
One is on a working farm and two are on properties that are scheduled for residential subdivision. The barn on the working farm has been deteriorating over the years as it is no longer integral to the farm operation. The farmer has requested a demolition permit. I am working with the township which has a preservation ordinance to request that the barn be documented. Correspondence noting the National Barn Alliance’s guiding principles on barn preservation has been sent to the township zoning and code enforcement officer.
The second barn is scheduled for demolition. The local historic commission and others are interested in having the barn preserved. The developer has no interest in doing so. A letter from the National Barn Alliance advocating its preservation has been sent to the local planning commission.
The third barn is also subject to a residential subdivision plan. However, in this case, the property owner is interested in converting the barn to residential use. The township has a progressive historic preservation ordinance that allows for zoning relief for significant historic structures including barns. A statement of historic significance is being prepared for submission.
The NBA is grateful for all the time and energy Jeff Marshall has dedicated to these three historic barns on behalf of the organization, as well as countless others in Pennsylvania and across the country. If you would like to submit information about endangered, significant, or adaptively re-used barns in your neck of the woods, please contact us!
This post submitted by Ellen Henry and friends at the Santee Historical Society in Santee, California. This year, the group is celebrating the barn’s birthday with a big bash to help raise funds for its continued preservation! To learn more about this event, click here or visit http://www.santeehistoricalsociety.com/
On May 3, 1913, John H. Dupee, a high-society millionaire businessman from Chicago, purchased a nearly 500 acre farm for a reported $85,000. Dupee purchased the Williamson’s farm for his son, Walter Hamlin Dupee. Dupee, committed to owning the largest dairy farm in the region, went to work on redeveloping the existing dairy into one of the most prestigious dairy farms known. Between 1913 and 1915, Dupee had many new structures constructed on the Edgemoor ranch. The most prominent of these buildings was completed on July 19, 1913, with construction of a large barn intended for his prize-winning team of bulls which represented the breeding stock of his dairy. As well as expanding dairy operations, he introduced the rearing of polo ponies. The barn would later become known to area residents as the ‘Polo Barn’ even though the pony stables were built elsewhere on the property.
The builder and architect of the barn are unknown but it was built of fir timber construction on a poured, above grade four foot concrete foundation. The exterior siding is redwood tongue and groove clapboard. It was constructed with a Dutch gambrel roof (a ridged roof with two slopes on each side). The roofline is three stories high with large twin cupolas serving as ventilators, making the barn one of the more visible and well-known landmarks in the City. The architecture of the barn is rarely seen in Southern California and very unique in San Diego County.
Alterations to the barn have been relatively minor since 1913, most occurring in 1955 when the County made the building over from an active livestock barn to storage. The most visible of these improvements includes the removal of the exterior sliding barn doors, installation of a concrete loading ramp at the southwest area of the building and enclosure of some of the interior stalls to create offices and locked storage. The top floor and exterior of the barn remain virtually untouched to this day.
In the mid-fifties, the Edgemoor Fire Department was Santee’s first volunteer fire department and its first fire truck was garaged at the Edgemoor Barn. Following the 1955 remodeling, the barn was used by Edgemoor Hospital as a central supply warehouse and storage facility until February 2007 when the Santee Historical Society moved into the building.
In September of 1983 the barn was saved by placing it on the National Register of Historic Places. On May 16, 1985, after hard work by people dedicated to saving it, the Edgemoor Barn was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
In addition to acknowledging the importance of the distinctive Dutch Gambrel architectural style, its size, its condition and consideration of being historically valuable the designation on the National Register will also protect the barn from future modifications and demolition, thereby preserving the building for future generations to enjoy.
The barn in its original location is the last remaining original structure from the Dupee era. Still visible from Magnolia Avenue, the barn and the land it sits on, continue since 1923 to be owned by the County of San Diego.
Agriculture in the San Diego region has changed dramatically by urban competition for land. A drive through San Diego County will soon make you aware of how few barns still exist. Historic barns are a vanishing feature of the American landscape. The wooden barn, once found on virtually every farmstead in the country, has disappeared.
This elegant barn is one of the oldest, if not the oldest building in Santee. It is still around because it was well built by Dupee in 1913, and well kept over its one hundred years of existence. The building, painted to match its original colors of green and white, remains as an outstanding symbol of an era when dairy farming was important to the industry and culture of San Diego.
This article was submitted by Suzi Parron, author of Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement. We are thrilled to connect with Ms. Parron and others active in the barn quilt movement. The NBA sees the use of quilt blocks and historic barns behind them, acting as a canvas, to be an enchanting (and culturally significant!) reflection of men and women’s traditional work on farms across the country.
The historic barns of Kittitas County, Washington, are receiving quite a bit of attention these days. Several local barns have been decorated with barn quilts—quilt patterns painted on wood and mounted on the barn surfaces for passersby to see. The effort marks the beginning of the state’s first quilt trail, which encourages visitors to travel the rural countryside and creates renewed appreciation for the area’s barns. Half of the forty barns that make up the first phase of the trail are more than 100 years old, and the remainder date to the 1960s or earlier.
One of the most notable is the Ballard barn in Cle Elum, built in 1900 by the original homesteader, Miles Clinton Ballard. Ballard was a skilled carpenter whose barn is unique among those in the area, designed to survive the valley’s spring winds that often gust up to 60 miles per hour. He designed the barn with lateral boards on the first story and diagonal bracing on the upper half.The barn was originally used to store hay and to shelter draft horses and also housed calving cows as needed. It is still in active use to store hay and farm equipment. Current owner Chuck Ballard is the sixth generation of his family to occupy the farm, which still has all of its original homestead acres intact. The Wagon Wheel quilt block was chosen because it reminded Chuck of the wagons and buggies that were used on the farm when he was a child. He and wife Bev decided upon a patriotic color scheme to honor their late son Greg, a well-loved and respected firefighter in Cle Elum.
The Barn Quilts of Kittitas County are part of a movement that began with Donna Sue Groves in Adams County, Ohio. Groves and her mother, Maxine, moved to a farm in 1989 that included a tobacco barn. The circa 1950 barn, like most built for drying tobacco, was plain in appearance—a very simple gable-entry design. Groves was struck by the idea of adding a painted quilt square above the sliding doors to honor her mother’s renowned quilting and the family’s Appalachian heritage. When it came time to complete the project, Groves suggested that twenty barn quilts could be painted and placed along a driving trail that would invite visitors to travel through the countryside. In 2011, an Ohio Star was painted by local artists and installed on a small barn nearby, and the trail of twenty quilt blocks—including one on the Groves barn—was completed over the course of three years. The Ohio Star is one of the most popular barn quilt patterns in its home state and beyond.
The Ohio Star is one of the most popular barn quilt patterns in its home state and beyond. In Urbana, Ohio, this pattern marks the barn owned by Todd and Jill Michael. The Michaels have owned the property for nearly fifteen years and spent a lot of time researching its history. The 1850 Pennsylvania bank barn and late-19th century, 12-sided addition were present in 1896, when Chauncy Glessner received the farm as a wedding gift from his father. Each of the 12 sides corresponds to a stall below with an interesting feature—round, polished stanchions. According to Michael, broom handles were manufactured in Urbana and were commonly used in barns nearby. Restoring the barn was a project for Michael. The barn’s current appearance belies its age, and the Michaels regularly find visitors pulling up their long driveway to get a closer view of one of Ohio’s treasures.
From its beginnings in Ohio, the barn quilt movement has expanded to 44 states and Canada. Over 4,000 quilts are part of organized trails; hundreds more are scattered through the countryside, not part of an organized effort. A drive along the quilt trail appeals to barn enthusiasts and to those who appreciate the iconic quilt patterns. A quilt trail near her home in Callaway, Kentucky caught the eye of Posy Lough. Lough creates needlework patterns that celebrate American heritage, so barn quilts were a perfect addition to her “Posy Collection.” The Redwork Quilt Kit features 12 barn quilt patterns from across the country. Included are the Ohio Star, the Snail’s Trail pattern that graces the Groves barn, and an unusual design called LeMoyne with Swallows, which is found on a Century Farm in Johnson City, Tennessee.
LeMoyne with Swallows is a reproduction of a cloth quilt sewed by the grandmother of farm owner Marcella Epperson. Epperson’s grandparents, Isaac and Barbara, inherited the property acquired by the family in 1848. Epperson recalls the barnyard in the 1940s and 50s: “There were horses, cows, mules, hogs, chickens, ducks, and guineas–pretty much everything. It was like Old MacDonald’s farm!” The 1898 gable-roofed barn housed livestock until the late-20th century and now sits mostly empty, a hidden gem enjoyed by those who seek it out along quilt trail.
One of the most well-traveled quilt trails is in Kankakee County, Illinois. The Kankakee trail includes a couple of corn cribs like the 1934 structure on the Larson farm. Dean Larson and his sister Beverly are proud of the hard work that the crib represents. Dean recalls, “The corncrib was the mainstay of our working farm, especially since our father raised livestock. The crib not only stored his entire harvest of corn and dried the ear corn on the vented sides, but also stored smaller grains such as beans in the overhead bins. Our father ground his stored ear corn for cattle feed in a hammer mill contained in the corn crib. Since our corncrib was a valuable asset to our family farm, we decided to honor it with a barn quilt entitled “Corn and Beans.”
The Larson corncrib was selected for the cover of “Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement.” The book traces the trail to its beginnings in Ohio and takes readers to 29 states from New York to Colorado with over 80 photographs taken along quilt trails across the country. It also includes dozens of interviews with barn owners, who relate the significance of their chosen quilt patterns along with stories about the barns on which they are mounted.
Each of the 150 known barn quilt trails celebrates a community’s farming heritage. Although quilt squares are the main attraction,barn enthusiasts may find quilt trail maps to be invaluable guides in their travels through America’s countryside. Information about Parron’s book, The Posy Collection, and the nation’s quilt trails can be found at www.barnquiltinfo.com.
Guest post by Catherine A. Brau, a Historic Preservation student at the University of Mary Washington (UMW). Our sincere thanks to Ms. Brau and the rest of the UMW and UDel students who participated in the Winter Meeting Presentations and shared their findings with us!
Barn lovers! The National Barn Alliance Meeting was hosted on campus February 15th – 17th. The National Barn Alliance is a non-profit organization committed to preserving America’s Historic barns while seeking to educate the public on efforts to preserve barns. They encourage the documentation of barns and support preservation organizations and programs. The meeting was a great opportunity to network with fellow (barn enthusiasts) preservationists and learn more about one of our more precious vernacular resources – barns. Historic barns – and farmsteads in general – are truly becoming a thing of the past as a result of commercialization and evolving technology and the poor maintenance of outdated or unnecessary structures. More importantly, barns are typically not the focus of surveying and documenting efforts.
During the conference, students were able to present their research from the Fall 2012 course Agricultural Preservation with Professor Michael Spencer. Students learned all they could about barns before being set loose to survey and document three local farmsteads – the Houseworth Barn and Arlington Carriage House at Montpelier and Flintshire Corncrib and Granary in Caroline County. These structures differ in their use and styles, and only the Houseworth barn is still functional, but all three are excellent examples of 19th century vernacular construction. Since a majority of texts concerning agricultural buildings refer to national trends, it was interesting to view what was happening on historic farmsteads at a local level (and of course was all the more important to record!). I personally hope to see this course grow in the future as it offered some great practical and networking experience and really highlighted the importance of vernacular preservation (the first barn my group was supposed to document fell over in a bad storm!). The National Barn Alliance members in attendance were excited that a younger generation is interested in continuing barn preservation and wanted to learn as much as they could about the student research and local agricultural structures.
While us students put in some hard work researching the farmsteads, we have to send a big THANK YOU out to Professor Spencer and his wife Danae for their knowledge about barns and for the networking opportunity with the National Barn Alliance. While most of us get the opportunity to be involved in some kind of research with the department, it is a rare occasion that we are able to present said research to our fellow preservationists outside of the department. These kinds of opportunities, of course, are dependent on us the students – so have fun researching and support your professors when they want you to share it with others!
The National Barn Alliance is seeking articles and contributors for our Newsletter, “The Barn Door”. The “The Barn Door” is bi-yearly publication mailed to our membership. Articles will also be posted on here on, “The Barn Journal.”
We encourage individuals as well as our state and local barn preservation partners to share updates on their activities. This is an opportunity to share your successes with others working to save historic barns in their own states. Article topics must be barn-focused such as history/preservation, grant programs, kids & education, photos, art, barn facts, endangered barns, saved barns, repair tips, preservation tips, book review, surveys & studies, barn raisings, and tours. We are also taking calendar submissions for conferences, tours and events.
There is an editorial board, which will review all submissions. There will be cases where the article is not published in the printed newsletter, but may be published on the website.
- Suggested length is 300 – 600 words. Photos are highly recommended.
- Send article in a MS Word, iWorks Pages, or text in the body of the email.
Photos are preferred in .jpeg format as attachments with captions.
Submission Deadlines for the printed newsletters are:
Spring 2013 Newsletter – March 22, 2013
Fall 2013 Newsletter - Article deadline: August 16
Articles for online publication are rolling.
Contact us for our easy to use template at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you imagine an America without barns dotting the plains or hills? We can’t. Join us in preserving our heritage. Before it is lost. Join us.
A guest post by NBA member, Jill Hotchkiss.
The old round barn just outside Twin Bridges, Montana was built in 1882 by Noah Armstrong, one of the lesser known Copper Kings, who was at that time superintendent of the Glendale smelter and discoverer of the Hecla mine in western Montana. Being from Kentucky, Armstrong had a love for horses and horse racing. He purchased the ranch in 1882 calling it the Doncaster Ranch after one of his favorite race horses. He then built a magnificent three-story round barn in which to raise and train race horses. One of the reasons he built it round was so the horses could be exercised in the winter on the indoor track on the ground floor. The ground floor also had box stalls for the horses as well as a saddle/tack room, veterinarian’s room, grain bins and office and living quarters for the jockeys or stablemen. The second story housed hay which could be fed to the horses on the ground floor, through openings or chutes on the second floor. The third floor had a large water tank which was pumped there from the well which was underneath the barn and a windmill which was atop the barn. Water could then be pumped anywhere in the barn, under pressure. There was also a freight elevator to transport the hay, grain and anything else to the second floor. This was quite a fancy barn for the day. There was even a carved horse scene above the front doors of the barn. The barn’s claim to fame, however, was raising Montana’s only Kentucky Derby winner, Spokane, who won the race in 1889. Actually, at that time in history he was the equivalent of a Triple Crown winner, the slate of races being different than they are now.
This article is published in our printed in Winter 2012 newsletter, The Barn Door.
Can you imagine an America without barns dotting the plains or hills? We can’t. Join us in preserving our heritage. Before it is lost. Join us.
As some of our members may already be aware, we are holding our Winter Board Meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in partnership with the University of Mary Washington on February 15th-17th, 2013. The focus of this year’s meeting, building mutually beneficial partnerships, could not be more timely given the economic climate!
Special guests at this year’s meeting include undergraduate and graduate students, many in Historic Preservation programs, who will present their work to research and document historic barns and farms in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Additional speakers, as well as a roundtable discussion, are planned to elaborate on selected successful partnerships in the barn preservation community. The Board will also conduct work sessions to review our mission statement and action plan to ensure the NBA’s continued growth and relevance to the barn preservation movement at large.
We will be sure to provide additional information and updates on our efforts – so please stay tuned. You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, and visit us anytime you want at www.barnalliance.org!
They have an amazing program organized with diverse workshops around timber framing. Such are the offerings:
- History of Timber Framing
- Timber Framing Design with StretchUp
- Fifty Shades of Green
- Timber Framing for Commercial Construction
There will be fun activities… music, fun, and axe throwing!
The Timber Framers Guild is a partner organization with the National Barn Alliance.