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Register Securely Online for the Ohio Barn Conference XV and Barn Tour Plus

Posted February 14th 2014

Junior Barn Detective 2014 Pre-Conference Workshop

This year we have another pre-conference JBD Workshop (see below). We can only take 25 people for this event.

Important Information Regarding Registration:

Members can register online for the JBD Workshop and/or Barn Conference XV by clicking here. You have to register for the events separately due to the limit on the Workshop. When registering for the Conference and Barn Tour select your type of registration on the first page knowing that you will be able to sign up your guest/spouse on the second page where it has a button to "add a guest" at the guest/spouse reduced rate. You can also find a printable registration page here to send with your check payable to Friends of Ohio Barns at PO Box 203 Burbank, OH 44214. If you are registering by mail for the workshop please call ahead to make sure there is still room. If you have any questions or difficulties please call Sarah Woodall at 330-856-9053 or 330-550-6982.

XV Ohio Barn Conference and Barn Tour

Posted February 10th 2014

Can you say swing beam? Three out of the first five barns on the December Barnstorming trip in Knox County provided the Barnstormers with eye-popping views of swing beams! German-influenced swing beams are large beams that run the width of the barn within a bent with no posts to produce an open barn. They were originally placed in these positions to provide freedom of moving equipment and animals around in the barn. Sometimes there would be tether-poles set in the middle of the swing beam in threshing barns so that an animal could be tethered to the pole and be able to walk around in a circle on top of the grain to separate the grain from the stocks. One of these barns, the Boreman Barn, will be on the tour. This barn, located in Fredericktown, was also a part of the underground railroad. We will also visit the Cassell Barn that was built roughly around 1827 from a family that originated in Maryland. The 6th generation of this family is still working the farm! The Cassell Barn (a previous Barn of the Year winner) is the only Sweitzer barn in all of Knox County. There are several other very interesting barns on our tour this year including one to stump the Barn Detectives – maybe, we'll see. The final stop will be at the Knox County Agricultural Museum located at the fairgrounds. This museum is loaded with tools and implements from the 1800's and early 1900's. Lunch will be served in The Great Room by SIPs Signature Fare Catering at the Mt Vernon Developmental Center. This is an amazing old building set on beautiful grounds and will definitely fill the architectural need of the trip! The barn tour is set for Friday, April 25th and is an all day long adventure through Knox County. Please note that there is limited seating available so sign up early!

Thursday afternoon we have a JBD Workshop on the schedule located at The Barn. In Keeping with the 2014 conference theme, of re-purposing historic barns to keep them viable for use in today's modern world, attendees will have an opportunity to meet and talk with event-barn owners Janet and Steve Thompson. They purchased the barn and property, moved the barn and remodeled it for an extended-family gathering place. From there it grew into a business as a place to rent for special events. This is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about the decisions they made, the processes they went through, the problems encountered and the solutions they found. They have done it all from beginning to end and have a very interesting and successful story to share. Do not miss touring this unique facility! Please note we have to limit the number of attendees so sign up early.

Saturday's conference will take place at the Glenn A Gallagher Centre in Mt Vernon. We have Jeff Marhsall as our Keynote Speaker this year. Jeffrey L. Marshall, President of Heritage Conservancy in Doylestown, PA has been involved in historic preservation for 30 years having been involved with the documenting, photographing and researching of over 10,000 old buildings. He is a recognized expert in southeastern Pennsylvania historic architecture. He is the author of books on Bucks County barns and one on Bucks County farmhouses as well as a half dozen books on local history. He has taught courses on barn documentation, history and preservation at the Bucks County Community College. Mr. Marshall has been the featured speaker for numerous barn programs and tours in Bucks, Montgomery and Northampton Counties. Marshall serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Barn Alliance and is the President of the Board of Directors of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania. In addition to having extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania barns, he has studied barns in New England, New York, Ohio, Michigan and the South.

Mr. Marshall has made a career of linking land conservation and historic preservation. Heritage Conservancy is an organization with a mission of protecting the region's natural and historic heritage. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association Board of Directors. In 2003 he was the recipient of inaugural "Bucks County Preservation Legacy Award" created in his honor for more than 20 years of leadership and dedication for the preservation of historic places and open spaces by the Bucks County Commissioners. He is also the recipient of Governor, Senate and Pennsylvania of Representatives commendations for career achievements in conservation and preservation.

Doug Morgan, President of Mt Vernon Barn Company, LTD will be giving a talk titled "100 by 2032: A Barn Odyssey" which Doug says will detail his philosophy, approach and efforts to preserve and repurpose historic Ohio barns. This ambitious man has a lot on his plate. The following is an excerpt from his biography and the full version can be found here. For 30 years Doug was a full-time corporate lawyer and part-time barn and log house mover and restorer. Over that time period, he moved and restored two circa 1820 Ohio log houses and two mid-19th century hand hewn timber frame barns on the Morgan family farm in Knox County. Two years ago, Doug and his wife Beth started the Mt Vernon Barn Company, and Doug transitioned to part-time lawyer and full-time barn mover and restorer. The goal of the Mt Vernon Barn Company is to save and repurpose at least 100 historic Ohio barns and log houses over the next 20 years, after which most of Ohio's barns and log houses will be gone. In 2014, Doug and Beth launched Mount Vernon Millworks which offers high quality custom cabinetry handcrafted at the Company's "off the grid" Amish woodworking shop near Morgan Farms, hardwood flooring, custom furniture handcrafted using reclaimed Ohio barn wood, and Adirondack furniture handcrafted to the Company's specifications by Amish friends in Holmes County. Mt Vernon Millworks also supplies reclaimed wood to central Ohio architects and contractors for commercial and residential projects. Mt. Vernon Millworks aims to employ local woodworkers, to make high quality wood products using locally grown and reclaimed wood, for mostly local customers. The Company's website can be found at

Our very own Vice-President, Dan Troth will be giving a presentation on his recent project, the Cellar Barn and House. Dan will speak about his project of dismantling an historic barn dating to 1830 and the accompanying house that dates to 1839. Dan had learned that the barn and house complex was going to be burned in order to build a new housing community. He knew he had to step in and try to save part of Ohio's tangible history. Fortunately, Dan has found homes for the barn and house and will explain the whole process that he went through and the future plans for these frames. When asked to provide a biography for this article Dan responded with the following: Let's see... My father was a small town lawyer with a lot of farmers for clients. He used to take a carload of neighborhood boys every weekend to someone's farm where we always ended up building forts in the barns' haymows. That's where I probably fell in love with barns, although I didn't know it then. But we all know that what you experience as a child often is a determinant factor in who you eventually become. After years of building great forts and tree houses I landed in New Hampshire, where I helped frame new houses, then to New York City to try the acting thing for ten years. I helped do some remodeling there before meeting my wife who was in college. We came back to Ohio so she could teach and I could build barn homes with two architect friends. We started Rebarn in Akron but only one family wanted us to build them a barn home. The idea was big on the East Coast but not hear in the Midwest. So, I built custom homes and over the years embraced the concept of energy efficiency and have been building green homes ever since. I hate paying high utility bills. Whenever possible, I like to incorporate antique timber frames into these new homes and happen to live in an old barn that I moved to Delaware from Waynesville in 1998. I have loved what I have learned over the 28 years I have been a member of the Timber Framers Guild and love being on the board of Friends of Ohio Barns. Honestly, if I had my druthers, I'd just drive all over the countryside talking to people and exploring and photographing their barns. That's my short answer to a bio request. Dan owns and operates GreenTech Construction in Columbus. Please view his website at for more information plus it is a really cool website!

Our very own historian, Tom O'Grady will be delivering a talk about the history of Knox County. In his own words: Tom is a barn enthusiast. He hasn't built any or burned any or torn any down. He has done some repair work on a few. Mostly he has explored many. As a board member Tom has been entrusted with the newsletter for Friends of Ohio Barns and has been its editor for a dozen years. He's getting a pretty good idea how little he knows about barns. Tom's day job for 25 years was initiating and operation waste reduction and recycling programs in Athens and Hocking counties. He has been working on conservation and sustainable economic improvement efforts since 1980. Tom has been teaching Astronomy at Ohio University by night for 30 years. Stars and garbage have been his bread and butter for a good while. Teaching an Ohio Geography course at Ohio University for a few years has given him an opportunity to look more closely at the people who settled Ohio, where they came from, where they landed, and what kinds of structures they added to the Ohio landscape. This has given him a good idea of how little he knows about Ohio, but he finds it pretty exciting work. In his spare time Tom serves on the boards of the Athens County Historical Society and Museum and Ohio's Hill Country Heritage Area. Look for his talk titled A Little Bit of Knox County History.

And, our very own barn experts, Laura Saeger and Rudy Christian, will present the story of an 1837 Michigan barn that was moved once in 1894 and then again in 2013. The second time it took a trip to Ohio for repairs and modifications, then back to Cornman Farms in Dexter Michigan for use as an event space. The presentation will include information about documentation and deconstructions, as well as repair techniques and raising. You will also hear about the importance of understanding code and safety requirements when a project like this is being considered. Laura and Rudy hope you will come prepared to ask questions about this increasingly popular way of finding new uses for our old barns. You are not going to want to miss "From Cow Manure to Contra Dances"! Look for more information on this project and lots more on their website

Of course the Barn Detectives will be on site Friday for the Barn Tour and Saturday for their re-cap performance. Silent Auction, Member Meeting and Barn of the Year Awards will take place during the lunch break. After such an inspirational day packed with information one may just want to venture down to SIPs Coffee House on South Main St for some live folk music (the Al Creek Band) and dinner to wind down.

Knox County has much to offer besides our upcoming conference! Mt Vernon is the county seat and has been called the "Colonial City". One must drive down High Street to see some magnificent houses and, of course, the buildings on the square such as the Courthouse, St Paul's Episcopal Church and Woodward Opera House must be viewed if architecture is your thing. Mt Vernon boasts three historical districts, Gambier Village and Kenyon College which was recently named one of the ten most beautiful campuses. Driving around the hills and valleys of Knox County one can find New England Barns and Pennsylvania barns. Most of the immigrants came from Ireland and England and the area is rich in history. Visit for more information on Knox County.

Please note the above registration post for more information. Look here for Saturday's schedule. Hope to see you in April!

The Mini Barn hits the road again!

Posted September 13th 2013

Paul Knoebel and his famous Mini Barn is on the road again this fall. Its first stop is at Malabar Farms, September 28th and 29th, for their Heritage Days Festival. The always popular festival runs from 10am to 4 pm each day. Check out for more info.

The next stop will be in Carrollton for the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival. This is a 3 day event, October 11th-13th. It too is a real crowd pleaser, so don't miss out! Check out for more info.

Paul could really use some volunteer help at both these events! It is a wonderful site to see Paul work with young kids in raising this frame...its been done more than 130 times!. We will have a booth and our table top barn model too (we have to have something for the grown-ups to play with!) so the more volunteers to help, the better the experience for all!

Please contact Paul at (330) 882-5027 and let him know you can help.

Darke County Site of FOB 2013 Annual Picnic

Posted June 11th 2013

Darke County has been selected for the Friends of Ohio Barns Annual Picnic, Saturday, September 7th, 2013 from 10 am to 4 pm. Please bring a covered dish, your beverage of choice, your own chair, and place setting. And don't forget the camera. FOB will provide the meat, buns, and fixin's. After getting re-acquainted with old friends and meeting new friends from around the area we will enjoy lunch and then be treated to a tour of the mill and adjacent barn home by the owners Terry and Julie Clark. And they have quite a story to tell. There is a nominal fee of $5 per person for the tour.

Darke County is located on the western side of the state. It claims to have legends as rich as its soil. Bear's Mill is just one of these stories. Built in 1849 by Gabriel Baer, Bear's Mill (the name became Americanized some time back) is one of the last operating water-powered mills in Ohio. Its gears, belts, and turbines began to turn in the year 1850, grinding gifts from nature into sustenance for man. The interesting history of Bear's Mill continues into the new millennium as the mill still functions to stone-grind cornmeal, whole wheat flour, and rye flour for new people in a new age, in traditional Old World style.

This huge four-story timber-frame structure was constructed with natural resources harvested within a two mile radius of the mill site. The frame is Hickory and the siding is Black Walnut.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

There is one more surprise in store for the afternoon. We will be visiting the beautiful Lavy Round Barn. Kent and Cindy Lavy have a great barn story everyone will enjoy, as well as, the lovely garden and setting.

Directions to Bear's Mill: 6450 Arcanum-Bear's Mill Road. Take State Route 36 to between Gettysburg and Greenville, Turn south on Arcanum-Bear's Mill Road, Mill is on the right.

Directions to the Lavy Barn will be given at the picnic.

For more information call Pam Gray at 740-263-1369

Barn Of the Year Recipients 2013

Posted June 11th 2013

Agricultural Use:

Terry Randall Barn - Terry and Diane Randall

Purchased by his father in 1954 when he started his milk herd. An earlier barn with hewn timbers was moved a short distance and added to the back of this bank barn in 1926. Barn is currently used for hay and equipment storage and to house calves and beef steers. Repairs are constantly being made and the barn was repainted in 2012.

Randall Barn Outside Randall Barn Inside Randall Barn Award

Adaptive Re-use:

Brookside Farm - Wayne Emerick

This 1884 barn, part of a 120 acre working farm, has a capacity for 300 guests on its 6,000 square foot main level and is famous for hosting weddings and other ceremonies nearly every weekend of the year.

Brookside Barn Outside Brookside Barn Inside Brookside Barn Award


Gish Barn - Richard and Denise Weis

A very early example of a Pennsylvania barn or forebay bank barn with "outshots". It has double granaries and double threshing floors. The barn underwent some of the most extensive repairs we have ever seen in an effort to save it for future generations.

Wilhelm Award Established

This year, Friends of Ohio Barns felt very privileged to establish and present this prestigious honor to Hubert Wilhelm. Mr Wilhelm was a pioneer in his studies of farms and barns in Ohio, the settlement patterns of immigrants into the area and the barn builders. It is in tribute to Hubert's devotion, dedication, and detailed investigation of Ohio Barns, that we chose to name the award after him.

Read the full article here

Wilhelm Wilhelm

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Register Securely Online for the Ohio Barn Conference XIV and Barn Tour plus Junior Barn Detective 2013 Pre-Conference Workshop

Posted March 11th 2013

Important Information Regarding Registration.

This year we have added a pre-conference JBD Workshop (see below). We can only take 25 people for this event. Members can register online by clicking on the Calendar of Events at the top of the menu column to the left on this page and you will then see both the JBD workshop and the Ohio Barn Conference XIV and Barn Tour. You have to register for the events separately due to the limit on the Workshop. When registering for the Conference and Barn Tour select your type of registration on the first page knowing that you will be able to sign up your spouse on the second page where it has a button to “add a guest” at the spouse reduced rate. You can also find a registration page here to print and send with your check payable to Friends of Ohio Barns at PO Box 203 Burbank, OH 44214. If you are registering by mail for the workshop please call ahead to make sure there is still room. If you have any questions or difficulties please call Sarah Woodall at 330-856-9053 or 330-550-6982.

Conference Time is Approaching Fast!

Posted March 7th 2013

“Appalachia is Appalachia. We have to preserve what we have.” Well spoken by Athens County Historical Society volunteer and Collections Manager Donald E. Newell. Our board member, Tom O'Grady, is the current president of the ACHS and has a lot on his plate including the organization of this year's conference. With preservation and restoration in mind for a conference theme it just so happens that we are having the Saturday portion at the Ridge's Auditorium located on the Ohio University Campus. Click on the Ridge's link for more information including a map of the old asylum grounds. Many of these buildings are in need of preservation/restoration. The alternative is demolition. The architecture is amazing and certainly worth seeing. Tom has arranged for George Eberts to give us a guided tour of the grounds at the end of Saturday's program, guaranteed to be a real treat.

But before we get to the Conference on Saturday there is a bus tour all day on Friday. We have the White's Mill to visit with hewn and sawn timbers. The Bonnaud barns with a couple conversions and the Lance barn as an example of a side entry New England barn with four bays. The Blower barn is a gable end drive through southern barn. The Arbuthnot barns sport all hewn timbers and pegged rafters. The Lochary barns have wooden hay tracks (actually, most of the barns in this area we looked at had wooden hay tracks) some of which are curved or are perpendicular to one another. Lunch will be provided by The Village Bakery at the Grange Hall in Amesville with the help of Amesville Mayor Gary Goosman.

The Department of Geography at Ohio University and the Geography Club agreed to host our conference this year. We are very fortunate to have Dr Timothy Anderson, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the Ohio University, as our Keynote speaker this year. Dr Anderson's talk titled “Material Culture as a Proxy for Settlement Patterns and Process: The Pennsylvania Barn in Ohio” will depict the historical settlement and development of Ohio's regional cultural landscapes. His research is focused on German immigration and the movement of the Pennsylvania-German population groups throughout Ohio and how these populations settled in separate groups with distinctive agricultural traditions, values and ideals.

Dr Anderson is currently the faculty advisor for the Geography Club at OU. He recently finished his five-year tenure as Chair of the Geography Department. He teaches the Introduction to Human Geography survey course and several intermediate/advanced courses as well as graduate courses in geography. Dr Anderson has received several awards including the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Outstanding Teacher Award and the Vision Ohio Excellence Award from the Ohio University. Since obtaining his PHD in Geography from Texas A&M in 1994 Dr Anderson has been extremely busy (and this is a short list) working on several college related and national committees, reviewing books and articles, writing articles, giving close to sixty or more presentations, as well as writing a book called Introduction to Human Geography: A World-Systems Approach. Currently Dr Anderson is beginning his journey of expanding his research of settlement patterns to more of a national and international scope including the settlement of the United States and how the patterns affected our diverse cultures.

One of our members, Bob Eichenberg, will be presenting on the use of GIS (Government Information Systems), an electronic mapping and data program and its potential applications for barn surveys and inventories and the distribution of cultural settlements and barn types across the state. Bob is an environmental planning and design professional and has ties with the Department of Geography at OU. He believes that GIS is a tool that, if used, can be beneficial in establishing a record and database for research and conservation of Ohio's barn heritage.

Mr Vice President himself, Dan Troth, will delight us, I'm sure, with a lively presentation and slide show of barn raisings from the past. The entertainment will continue with Rudy Christian and Larry Sulzer as the Barn Detectives present their findings and show photos of the barns from Friday's bus tour. Tom O'Grady, President of the Athens County Historical Society and Friends Board Member, will be presenting the history angle in a talk about the Asylum Grounds and the architect that designed it titled “The Legacy of Levi T. Scofield: Architect of the Athens Asylum and Other Treasures in Ohio's Landscape”. Jane Forrest Redfern will stop by to talk about the Dairy Arts Barn around the corner from the asylum grounds as they are approaching their 100th birthday! Once again, it will be an interesting and entertaining conference, one not to be missed. There will, of course, be bakery trays provided by Fluff Bakery and coffee in the morning and a delicious lunch will be prepared by the Purple Chopstix Restaurant. So plan on attending to catch up with your barn friends and learn a thing or two about Athens, settlement patterns in Ohio, local history, architects, GIS, and witness the remarkable architecture of the buildings on the hill at the Ridge's.

-Sarah Woodall

Junior Barn Detective Pre-Conference Workshop Scheduled for Thursday, April 25 th, 2013

Posted February 13th 2013

The Junior Barn Detective (JBD) Program will be offering a pre-conference workshop on Thursday afternoon April 25th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The workshop is open to conference attendees and a minimal charge of $10 will be charged to help cover expenses. Due to logistics we have to limit the number of attendees for this workshop to twenty-five so sign up early.

The workshop will be held at the Willem Roosenburg and Kate Kelley barn located at the intersection of Brawley Road and McDaniel Road near 14667 McDaniel Road, Amesville, OH 45711. The site is approximately 11 miles from the conference location. The barn has recently undergone repairs and restoration work. Steve Skellett, owner of Royal Barn/Home Restoration was the contractor hired to provide the services. The barn had to have structural repairs and was resided and reroofed.

Our objective is to provide a case study of a repair/restoration project and the process in which the owners and contractor were involved. The plan is to have both the contractor and the owners there to discuss the progression of events that took place as decisions were made and the reasoning behind the final choices. Hopefully, we can get the contractor to discuss his approach for determining what repairs/restoration work would be required and what methods/material choices could be used for them. Additionally, we hope the owners, Kate and Willem, will share with us the challenges they had making their final decisions regarding the restoration of their barn.

We anticipate an open forum discussion type of atmosphere with questions from the attendees and stories of the challenges and expectations from both the contractor and owners' perspective.

At the end of day we hope everyone there will be able to walk away with a little better understanding of some of the things that can be expected when trying to preserve their beautiful but aging historic barns.

The JBD Crew,
Gary, Paul & Larry

Come Join us for the 14th Annual Ohio Barn Conference

Posted October 28th 2012

The 14th Annual Ohio Barn Conference will be held in Athens County Friday, April 26th and Saturday, April 27th, 2013. The barn tour will visit selected farmsteads established on the unglaciated plateau of Ohio. Most of the barns in this region of the state are the work of Yankee settlers and their descendants from New England and the southerners migrating from Virginia. You will see the New England three-bay barns with a side entry and some southern barns with the gable end entry as you come into the Hocking River watershed.

The region was first settled by migrants from Massachusetts who came down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh and established Marietta. The same folks who created Ohio's first organized settlement in Marietta headed up the Muskingum Valley and over into the valley of the great Hockhocking River and soon founded the first educational institution west of the Alleghenies, the American Western University, soon changed to Ohio University. They brought their cultural baggage with them and that included the three bay English barn. Some are ground barns and many are built into a bank with a basement for livestock.

The other migrants entering this region came up the Muskingum, The Hockhocking, the Scioto and the Little Miami rivers from Virginia and the Carolinas. Virginia was just across the Ohio River as West Virginia wasn't established until the Civil War. Among the cultural artifacts these Virginians brought with them was the southern barn, typically a ground barn with the entry at the gable end. Some have a hayhood over the doorway.

The Pennsylvania bank barn is relatively unknown in this section of the Ohio landscape. If you see one, it's an outlier. However, the 1850 Census indicates that a substantial number of migrants from Middle Atlantic states, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland, were living in Athens, Meigs, and Washington counties at the time. Research continues to be done on settlement of Ohio such as that being done by Dr. Timothy Anderson of Ohio University. Settlers from Pennsylvania, Maryland and other Middle Atlantic states were the most abundant migrants in Athens, Washington, Meigs, Gallia and Lawrence counties. The apparent absence of the Pennsylvania German bank barn with a forebay in this region is somewhat curious. The barnbuilders predominant in the region may simply not have been from Pennsylvania.

The Barn Conference is scheduled to be held in the Auditorium of the old Athens Asylum. While many of these old institutions have been demolished in the past few decades around Ohio and the rest of the nation most of this old complex of buildings is still standing, albeit in disrepair. It is badly in need of attention but still standing. Nearby is one of the institution's old agricultural buildings which has been converted into the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center.

By: Tom O'Grady
Images by: Tom O'Grady

Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center in Athens. This facility is an adaptive reuse of one of the old barns of the Athens State Hospital. It is coming up on its 100th anniversary.

The Auditorium of the old Athens State Hospital, one of the many buildings of the old state hospital now owned by Ohio University. The 2013 Ohio Ban Conference will be held in this building.

The main administration building of the old Athens State Hospital, this structure from 1868 was built on the Kirkbride plan for asylums which had separate wings for male and female patients. The central porting of this enormous structure now houses the Kennedy Museum of Southwest Native American Art.

2012 Annual Friends of Ohio Barns Fall Picnic

Posted August 11th 2012

This year we had a very interesting venue for the picnic. Jim Fry offered up his Museum of Western Reserve Farms and Equipment for our entertainment! Located in Summit County this Museum is chock full of interesting buildings and implements. Please go to his website at to check out everything this place has to offer. Check out his blog at Jim has moved 39 buildings to this site that include an operating sawmill, the last operating cigar factory in the state, broom and rope making shops, a slaughter house, a blacksmith shop, a wheel making shop, a letterpress shop, a weaving mill, even an 1825 Post Office from Randolph and many more buildings all from the 1820's to the 1920's. One of the oldest barns is here and it was built using 16” wide by 16' long 2” thick yellow poplar boards attached using square red oak pegs. One can still see the pit saw marks on the boards. There is even a one room schoolhouse that has been moved from Cuyahoga County to Medina County but finally found its home at this museum. We witnessed the progress of the reconstruction of a 20'x 40' two story barn that will be their General Store. This was the Hamburg Horseshoeing and Jobbing barn from Independence, Ohio. It was closed during the transitional period of the horse and buggy era to the early automobile era. The owner locked the door and walked away. Eventually the barn and everything in it from buggy wheel making tools to early care repair tools were sold to the museum for $1.00! Did I mention that there are horses, goats, pigs and chickens too?

Jim also has organic produce available as well as handmade soaps, maple syrup, free-range eggs, honey and much more available for purchase.

The Museum is located at 2891 Southern Rd in Richfield, OH, 44286-9521, Summit County. Jim and Laura offered their phone number, 330-659-3507, if you'd like to call.

Lunch was served at 12 pm, although we were welcomed to come early to explore this wonderful place. Friends supplied the main course meat and did the grilling, and guests brought a covered dish to share.

2012 Barn of the Year Winners

Posted May 31st 2012

Each year, at our annual conference, we are proud to present our Barn of the Year awards in three categories. The Agricultural BOY award this year was presented to The Poorman Barn, built in 1819 in Somerset, Ohio. We don't often have the chance to see a barn with this rich a history. This beautiful Pennsylvania barn, with its cut stone foundation and deep forebay has been in constant use for nearly 200 years. Nick Wiesenberg took core samples from nine of its timbers and microscopic analysis confirmed the original date as well as timbers that were cut in 1854 for the barn's later addition. The original barn was scribe ruled as evidenced by the marriage marks carved into its timbers. It also displays a unique double framing system looking like two barn frames in its interior. The Poorman family is to be commended for maintaining this working barn, one of Ohio's finest, in great condition for several generations.

Poorman Barn
BOY Award Presentation

Left to right: Ric Beck, Dan Troth, John Poorman, Jason Poorman, Jim Poorman

We are pleased to have awarded Crown Point Ecology Center our Barn of the Year for Adaptive Re-Use. Built in 1910, the bank barn has two unusual interior silos that were for storing silage to feed cattle and horses on the ground level. A hay track enabled storage of hay to its roof and was accessed by tall ladders still found in the barn. The barn has been well maintained over the last 102 years and today serves for program space for “children's educational events, adult enrichment activities regarding the growing of toxin-free vegetables, rain-barrel Spring classes, Dances of Universal Peace and a diverse group of adult gatherings for communicating the care of all life on planet Earth.” This barn is a perfect example of how we can find ways to save some of our best old barns and put them to good use for generations to come.

Crown Point Barn
Adaptive Re-use Award Presentation

Left to right: Ric Beck, Chris Norman, Dan Troth

Our third award is for a category we just started last year. As judges, we have received many entries over the years that had not found an adaptive re-use and were not being used for agricultural purposes. Nevertheless, they were being well maintained by their owners and kept from decay and destruction. They realized the value and history the barns represented. We felt they too should be recognized and we therefore created the Stewardship award. The Oyster Barn, near Alliance, is a marriage of two barn types, the very early period double crib log barn and the tree bay timber framed barn. It is a double forebay with an overall length of 57 feet. Its original logs are 18-20” in diameter. At some point the log barn was converted, a floor was added and a scribe ruled hewn timber frame was built on top of it within ten or twenty years of its original construction. We need Nick to do dendrochronology on this barn to determine when the log structure and the timber frame were actually built but judging from the evidence, it was all completed in the early 1800's. We once again applaud their efforts to preserve these early icons of Ohio's agrarian past.

Oyster Barn
Stewarship Award Presentation

Left to right: Ric Beck, Joan Hochstetler, Dan Troth, Jane Hochstetler

Friends of Ohio Barns is already looking for entries for our 2013 Barns of the Year:

Send in your entries to Dan Troth, 7591 Perry Road, Delaware, OH 43015 or email him at Deadline for submissions is March 31st, 2013.

Friends' 2012 Lifetime Membership Awards

Posted June 6th 2012

The following Lifetime Membership Awards were presented at the 2012 Ohio Barn Conference recently held in Summit County. Raymond Friend was also presented with the award, but was not pictured.

Oyster Barn

Left to right: Ric Beck, Beryl Beckett, Dan Troth

Stewarship Award Presentation

Left to right: Ric Beck, Larry Sulzer, Dan Troth

Check out the Barns on Our Recent Barn Tour

Posted January 22nd 2012
Canal Locks Boston Store Visitor Center
Small cluster of canal village buildings, the center has a great display of canal history with murals, artifacts, tools and a partial canal boat showing the timber framing that made them.
Countryside Consevancy Barn
Darwin Kelsey, Conversancy Director, is re-adapting an English Ground barn into the "corporate headquarters" for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park system that will showcase what he hopes to be an urban agricultural education center. The barn itself has some interesting framing and several examples of repairs to the frame that are noteworthy and could be suggestions for other barn owners to emulate.
Bender Barn James Brown 3-Storey
The highlight of this year's tour, this 1886, 3-storey multiple trussed barn is like no other! It was to be restored to become a conference center, before the funding dried up. It has an interior wood silo, a unique "u-shaped" turn around in the central drive bay, with a granary in the middle. There will be a park spokes person in period costume to speak of the barns history. Because of uncompleted renovations, we will view this structure in small groups.
Dan and Nancy Fay Barn - Yellow Creek
Mrs. Fay is a member of the Bath Business Association, and Historical Society. The family farm typifies homesteads in this area, and her barn is representative of ground barns here with one little twist. It has been moved and had a basement put underneath it. Of note are the framing differences in the old and new structures.
Crown Point Eco Center - Cuyahoga
Interesting 40x80 Gabled Barn circa 1900. Circular sawn materials make up this unique double square wooden interior silos. Originally for storage, this barn is a great example of adaptive re-use. It's new life functions as a CSA facility with many volunteers helping to raise and sell a variety of produce.
Canal Corners Farmer's Market
This circa 1905 Gambrel barn is a 40x108 Wisconsin style dairy barn. Mill cut, this frame allegedly was shipped from Tennessee. It too has some interesting joinery, namely some double framed posting in the drive bay walls. Its new life is a weekend farmers market to sell local produce and wares.

The Annual Ohio Barn Conference XIII was Outstanding!

Posted January 17th 2012

This year Friends of Ohio Barns was working in collaboration with the National Barn Alliance to bring you another entertaining and informative conference and barn tour! Summit County is home to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Cuyahoga Countryside Conservancy Program. This year we toured some of the barns in the conservancy as well as learning about the program from the Incorporator and Executive Director himself, Darwin Kelsey. This program was started back in 1999 as a way to rehabilitate old farms and put them back to work under the guidance of the Conservancy. It has been a very successful program on many levels and Mr. Kelsey had a lot to say on the subject. We also had a panel of farmers from the program, including Alan Halko, Daniel Greenfield and David Wingenfeld, to talk about their experiences and how they fit into the Conservancy Program.

We were excited to have the chance to collaborate with the National Barn Alliance and Charles Leik. Charles has been president of the NBA since 1997 and has helped effect many advancements through their organization to aid in fulfilling their mission statement which states "The NBA provides national leadership for the preservation of America's historic barns and their rural heritage". Charles and his group have been very busy recently in Buffalo where they were an active player in the National Trust's Buffalo 2011 Conference with their Affinity Lunch and participation in an Inner City Buffalo School raising. Charles spoke on the subject of the future of America's barns and was available to discuss the National Barn Alliance programs and their accomplishments.

Our Keynote Speaker was Scott Carlson, timber framer, woodworker, and craftsman extraordinaire. Although Scott would say, "I'm just a simple carpenter" we found that is not the case after seeing some of his work. If you are so inclined, check out his website at for more information. Scott graduated from the University of Montana as a forester, which has immensely helped him in the woods to find just the right trees to craft his cruck frames. We were thrilled to be able to have him take us on a journey from "Tree to Frame" at the conference.

History buffs thoroughly enjoyed David Snider from Somerset, Ohio. His topic for the conference was titled Agricultural Juggernaut: "The Jeffersonian Agrarian Vision meets the best damned farm ground on God's footstool". His bio as written by David: "David is from a long line of barn builders, lumbermen and Ohio pioneers. He is a graduate of Hocking College and Ohio University and works as a modern agricultural structure designer/builder. He is a past president and trustee of the Perry County Historical Society and an unreconstructed devotee of early Ohio History." An excellent presentation.

Of course the conference would not be complete without the Barn Detectives, Rudy Christian and Larry Sulzer. They were available on Friday's tour to point out unusual joinery as well as present their findings at the conference on Saturday. The annual member meeting was conducted during the lunch break and the silent auction was ongoing all day as well as other exhibits, demonstrations and vendor presentations.

2011 Friends Fall Picnic

Posted June 14th 2011

The Annual Fall Picnic was held on September 24th from noon to 5pm in Somerset, Ohio. The gathering was at the Jacob Miller Tavern on US Rt 22 in the town of Somerset.

The Jacob Miller Tavern is an original log tavern built on the Zane’s Trace in 1808 and served as the boyhood home of Civil War General Phillip Sheridan. Somerset is a German settlement with a classic Pennsylvania diamond square in the downtown with one of Ohio’s very few equestrian statues at its center. The buildings in the downtown area are attached to each other similar to the way they exist in Fredericksburg and Chambersburg in southeastern Pennsylvania where the settlers of Somerset originated.

Tom Johnson, Mayor of Somerset gave our group an update of some of the fascinating urban archaeology projects and the tree ring dating of log and timber frame building surveys underway. He also shared with the group an ongoing effort to preserve open land in and around the village for the development of a park system and an emerald necklace as well as efforts to preserve land adjacent to a nearby Native American earthwork. The nearby Glenford Fort is a 25 acre hilltop enclosure surrounded by a stone wall and encompassing an interior 15 foot high stone mound.

Picnic attendees had an opportunity to walk two blocks from the Jacob Miller Tavern, across Pigsfoot Square to visit the original Perry County Courthouse and County Jail, the oldest continually used government building in the former Northwest Territory. A Lutheran pioneer cemetery & the site of the first Lutheran Synod in Ohio with locally carved stones, some in German, is a half block from the courthouse.

We also arranged a tour of the Poorman barn, a German bank barn with forebay built in 1819. This unique barn has double timber framing throughout, incorporates scribe rule construction along with some dovetail joinery.

Early arrivals visited nearby historic St. Joseph’s church, cemetery and working farm. St. Joseph’s was the first Catholic Church west of the Allegheny’s. A seminary and dormitory, once part of the complex housed many of the clergy buried nearby. A very interesting spot seven to ten minutes from the Somerset square.

The picnic lunch included locally raised meat which was provided by Friends of Ohio Barns.

Early Post card of Somerset Town Square with Gen. Sheridan Monument, old Perry County Courthouse (1829) and commercial buildings; all still in use. From TOG collection.

2011 Board Members

Posted June 14th 2011
Board members: Pam Gray, Sarah Woodall, Gary Clower, Paul Knoebel, Ric Beck, Larry Sulzer, Tom O'Grady, Laura Saeger, Dan Troth, Rudy Christian, Jim Howard

Forensic Science Takes a Different Turn in Barns

Posted May 18th 2011

Ohio Farmer magazine has a feature article on the Barn Tour component of the recent Ohio Barn Conference XII. A photo slideshow is included!

Forensic Science Takes a Different Turn in Barns

Barn of the Year Winners announced at the Ohio Barn Conference XII

Posted May 18th 2011

Another great crop of barn submissions were judged prior to the recent OBC XII and the winners were:

Stewardship Award

Richard Finke from Fairfield Co. He has an 1830's Pennsylvania bank barn rich in local history that Mr Finke protects.

Agricultural Award

Steve & Debbie Miller also from Fairfield Co. They are caretakers of 3 rare double overhang barns on this historic homestead. They are being used for grain and hay storage.


Adaptive Re-Use Award

Robert & Sandra Routzahn from Crawford Co. They dismantled and rebuilt a circa 1900 gambrel barn into a home for the couple. It has a 30x40 clear span space in the main living area with garage and bedroom additions.


Thanks to everyone who entered!

Lifetime Member Matt Carter

Posted May 18th 2011

Thanks Matt!

Matt Carter

Rudy Christian retires from FOB board

Posted May 18th 2011

A founding member and guiding force of this organization, Rudy has decided to step down from the board for Friends. He will continue to be involved in the organization, especially with the barn survey program. We will continue to have him narrate our barn tours too! Happy retirement Rudy (sort of!).


The Friends of Ohio Barns Endowment Fund is Growing!

Posted January 18th 2011

But we need more help! Are you interested in donating to a worthy cause and help save Ohio's barns? Friends of Ohio Barns has established an endowment fund to help support the organization's various barn programs. Through the Columbus Foundation, a state wide philanthropic organization, you can donate to the Friend's endowment fund online through the Power Philanthropy arm of the foundation.

The easiest way to find our portrait page and make a secure donation is via Power Philanthropy & The Columbus Foundation. Follow the directions to make a worthwhile donation and feel good about helping our fund grow.

See more details about on our Endowment Fundpage through this website.

Unusual Joinery Detail found in Bellefontaine Barn

Posted November 22nd 2010

During the recent JBD workshop in Bellefontaine, Ohio, we came across a pretty interesting joinery detail. It is similar to Jan Lewandoski's description of a tying joint variation in the Timber Framers Guild "Joinery & Design Workbook". Illustrated by Jack Sobon, it describes a bridle joint with necked tie-beam and extended shoulders. The double tenons in the Longbrake-Smith barn, circa 1870's go clear through the scarfed eave plate and stand 4" proud of the plate. It then has approx. 1" pegs that help secure the scarf in its orientation and seemingly prevent outward rotation of the plate by the downward forces of the roof...very unusual!

Friends of Ohio Barns Featured on Our Ohio TV

Posted November 2nd 2010

If you haven't seen this video you should check it out. In 2009 June Davis from Think TV filmed a segment about Ohio Barns for Our Ohio TV. She interviewed some of our members for the piece. Review the video here.

Very worth watching!

Pictures from the recent Upper Arlington Sunny 95 Barn Raising

Posted October 27th 2010

25 hearty souls came to Upper Arlington for the 10 day workshop to restore Arlington's oldest remaining timber frame barn and erect a new doug-fir frame for The Community Foundation of Upper Arlington. It was a fantastic time had by of the highlights being the time we all spent with the elementary school kids next door at Greensview.

The frames went up without a hitch, and the community, and Friends of Ohio Barns has something to be proud of!

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2nd JBD Training Workshop was held 6 Nov. 2010 near Bellefontaine

Posted October 8th 2010

This training workshop is designed to further educate volunteer barn enthusiasts who are willing to then go out into their own respective Ohio communities and assist owners and stewards of older barns. The objective is to help them understand preservation and maintenance techniques, available resources and use options, and hopefully build a greater appreciation for their particular grand old structure.

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If you have any JBD Workshop or Program related questions or comments please visit the JBD Programpage on our site. If you have further questions contact Paul Knobelvia email, or contact us via phone at 330-882-5027 or 330-715-7422. For general FOB related questions we can best be reached at our regular mailing address - Friends of Ohio Barns, P.O. Box 203, Burbank, Oh 44214.

2010 FOB Fall Picnic was Held at Slate Run

Posted August 23rd 2010

Friends of Ohio Barns had their picnic at Slate Run Living Historical Farm last fall. This 1880’s farmstead has been restored and is operated by Columbus Metro Parks as a working farm. Farmhands and homemakers are in period dress.

Every farm animal you can think of is found in the barn or around the farmyard. Percheron horses, dairy cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese and a number of other kinds of fowl make up the extended family on the farm.

The big barn, a granary and the summer kitchen are some of the timber frame structures that stand out among the dozen or so farm buildings. The root cellar is stocked with canned vegetables and the smoke house has several select cuts hanging from the rafters. A blacksmith shop, a broom shop and several tool sheds are loaded with all of the implements of farming in that time period. The windmill towers over the haystack.

Big BarnBroom ShopCool WaterFarm Workers

The vegetable garden, grape arbor, orchard, corn field and sorghum patch are all showing signs of abundance as harvest time approaches. Onions are drying on racks by the summer kitchen. In spite of the world economy and the global financial crisis, Slate Run demonstrates that life on a productive subsistence farm can be separate and apart from the bigger mess

Slate Run is more than a working historical farm. It is 1700 acres of forests and fields and wetlands rolling over the glacial till plain. Extensive open water areas and the edge between forests and field provide an abundance of wildlife habitat. A spotted fawn grazes along the roadside. Green and great blue, and night herons can be seen stalking along the marshy borders. Footpaths roam over and through the wooded hills that are old glacial deposits.

Other timber frames at the park include the entry to the historic farm which was raised by a workshop of the Timber Framer’s Guild a decade ago and a shelter house recently built by Amish craftsmen. For directions and more information on the park, check out

Hay StackSmokedSummer KitchenSupper Time In The Barn

2010 Lifetime Members

Posted June 17th 2010

Lifetime MembersThis year, three folks of Friends became lifetime members, Brett & Marcia Urian, Sarah Werling and Jack Shumaker.

Thanks very much for being such great supporters of the organization!