And it can happen to Barn Enthusiasts too!

With much consideration the Board of Directors of Friends of Ohio Barns, in an emergency board call, has decided that we must cancel this year’s Ohio Barn Conference and Barn Tour due to the Coronavirus and government guidelines.  Will there be another Ohio Barn Conference and Barn Tour?  Why, yes!  Of course!  Will it happen this year?  Probably not.  It would be very hard to predict anything at this point in time regarding when things will get back to normal.  I tell everybody that my crystal ball is at the shop getting fixed!  You think I am kidding??

So – we plan on having our 2021 Conference in Preble  County as we have already done so much leg work to put it together! We are disappointed that there will not be a conference this year as we know many of you are.  After all, it is a highly anticipated yearly event!  But this is how things roll sometimes.  So check back.

Email us at [email protected] if any questions.

Registration now open for Ohio Barn Conference XXI

Important Information Regarding Registration:

This year we have a new Thursday Event (see below).  We can only take 32 people for this event.  Pre-registration is required.  Members can register online by clicking on the Event Calendar at the top of the menu column to the left on this page and you will then see both the Thursday Event and the Ohio Barn Conference XXI & Barn Tour registration boxes.  You have to register for the events separately due to the limit on the Thursday Event.  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 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 Thursday Event please call ahead to make sure there is still room.  If you have any questions or difficulties please call Sarah Woodall 330-550-6982.  All mail in registrations must be postmarked by Monday, April 13th, 2020 to be considered.  Online registration ends Friday, April 17th, 2020.

Thursday Event – SOLD OUT!

This year we have replaced the Barn Detective Workshop with a Thursday Event!  Because Preble County has several covered bridges we thought a chauffeured van tour through the county to see these covered bridges would be something fun and different to do.  So we are doing it!  Preble County Historical Society is offering us knowledgeable docents to ride along in our four vans and will share interesting information about the bridges and Preble County.  After our tour we will be taken to Mary Bullen’s barn for a BBQ dinner and presentation by Mary on the relocation and restoration of her barn.

Ohio once had approximately 3,500 covered bridges.  Currently there are around 148.  Eight of these are in Preble County.  The youngest being the Hueston Woods Covered Bridge, built in 2012, which crosses Four Mile Creek in the Hueston Woods State Park.  It is the newest example of the Burr truss system.  The oldest example in the state and the second oldest in the county of the Burr truss system  is the Roberts Bridge built in 1829 by Orlistus Roberts.  This bridge was built with local lumber, local limestone quarried from Rocky Run and forged iron work.  It is termed a double-barreled or dual wagon-way bridge. This particular bridge was moved to its current location after being vandalized and damaged by fire.  These remaining six covered bridges by name were built by Everett S Sherman who arrived in Eaton in 1886: Warnke, Geeting, Dixon’s, Brubaker, Christman and Harshman.  Sherman adapted the Childs truss system to include a multiple kingpost system with diagonal iron rods.

After we tour the bridges we will be taken to Mary Bullen’s four bay earth ramp barn that was built around 1850.  The barn was relocated from the Montgomery farm ten miles north of Eaton to its current location in Camden.  It is a 42’ x 72’ mostly beech frame that was in need of a lot of repair work.  Mike Wengler stepped in upon Mary’s request and finished the restoration of this fine barn.  Come hear the story from Mary and Mike and enjoy a catered BBQ dinner and know that you are supporting the Preble County Historical Society as well as having an enjoyable afternoon/evening with other FOB members ahead of the Ohio Barn Conference XXI.

Pre-registration is required for this event and there are a limited number of reservations so act quickly.

Barn Tour Preble County

Friends of Ohio Barns is pleased to announce yet another fabulous barn tour as part of our Ohio Barn Conference XXI.  One of the largest doorways for early settlers into the fertile lands of Ohio was through Cincinnati, which was chartered as a town in 1802 and by 1850 had become America’s sixth largest city.  We can safely surmise that most of the barns on our tour, not too far north of that river town, were built by the first few generations of those pioneers. We would like to do property title searches, family history research at the Preble County Historical Society and Ancestry.com profiles of our barn owners but that probably won’t happen before its time to board the buses.  But we will at least have the great opportunity to stand inside of these great barns and if we listen closely we just might hear the stories they have to tell us.

Our first two stops will be at the McQuiston Family Farm where one early swing beam barn sits back the lane from a gorgeous brick home.  We were all very tired by the end of our second day of scouting dozens of barns in pursuit of a “few great barns” and “cold called” these folks when someone in our group declared, “Look at that! We have to go see that barn! I can tell it’s very old!”  Never wanting to get shot, we donned our FOB barn hats on our heads and with FOB brochures in hand we smiled broadly and knocked on the door.  The lady sent us across the road to a house where no one answered.  But hearing farm machinery in the distance we drove in that direction and found ourselves amidst trucks busy bringing in the corn harvest and we were promptly greeted by friendly owners.  Excited by the prospect of learning the history of their barns they escorted us to the old barn behind the old brick house.  What a lovely swing beam barn presented itself to us.  We all pointed out unique features of the barn to the McQuistons who seemed pleased with the admiration she was receiving and agreed to let us put her on our tour.  They even directed us to visit their other old barn just down the road a piece excusing themselves as the sun was setting and they had to get back to work bringing in the crops.  The second McQuiston barn was just as beautiful, much larger and of a different style.  Hard to say which was built first until I have the chance to hug their posts.  Needless to say, our group of tired barnstormers felt happy and blessed to have discovered these two barns and wholeheartedly agreed to include them in our tour.

Our third stop will be at the Kuhn farm to take a look at a large late 1800’s gambrel barn.  “Hold on there cowboy! She’s not what you think.”  This is a much earlier hewn barn that evolved as farming practices evolved around that time.  The original roof with its pole rafters was removed and replaced with a much taller gambrel roof to allow for more hay storage.  Quipped its owner, “It’ll hold more straw than you wanna bale.”

The fourth stop is for lunch and two cups of coffee.

Stop five is where we see the five sided ridge beam.  We don’t have the opportunity to see many hewn pentagonal ridge beams and this one is certainly a treat.  Seven bents with a major-minor rafter system in her 40’x90’ frame.  Could be as old as 1817?  Would someone please come forward and offer to pay for dendrochronology?

Number six is Larry Snyder’s 40’x70’ hewn barn which exhibits raising holes in its wall posts.  (We will explain what those are.) We learned that the original farmer bought the land because there was a limestone quarry on site which explains its beautiful stone wall at its bank.  It also has a 20’ tall hand-riven hay hole through which rafter-high hay was tossed down to the animals in the barn’s basement.

Our final stop of the day is at the Krickenbarger Farm where we’ll have the chance to see one of Ohio’s round barns.  This one is 60’ in diameter and 32’ to its peak.  Built in 1908 it’s a fine example of farmers and barn builders working together to create barns capable of maximizing the efficiency and function of the modern agricultural practices of that day, just 112 years ago.

We know you’ll all enjoy this year’s tour.  Pay attention to the weather forecast and bundle up.  Be sure to wear boots because you all know what you’ll be stepping in.  Get a good nights sleep and for Heavens sake, take lots of photos!

By: Dan Troth

Ohio Barn Conference XXI

Yes!  The Ohio Barn Conference and Barn Tour will happen in 2020!  Mark your calendars for Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th!  And we are working on a special “Thursday pre-conference Workshop” for April 23rd and there is no working involved!

We are still in the planning stages and will have more information as it is confirmed but for now check out our slate of speakers:

Steve Gordon – Steve is the Museum Administrator for the William Holmes McGuffey Museum located in Oxford.  Enthusiastic, entertaining and quite knowledgeable in all aspects of historic preservation.  Steve has presented at our conferences in the past and we are thoroughly excited that he will be speaking again this coming April.

Doug Reed – you all know him as our “log crib barn guy”.  Doug is as enthusiastic, entertaining and knowledgeable in all aspects of historic preservation as Steve!  We are so delighted to have Doug return as a speaker.

Misti Spillman – Misti is a gravestone restoration expert dealing with historic gravestones including those from the Civil War era and is also the Executive Director of the Preble County Historical Society.

Karen Oberst – Karen was one of a select group of women awarded the Ohio Agricultural Women of the Year Award in 2012.  She started her own dairy farm near Findlay and has transitioned from dairy to a beef producer while also farming grasses.  Karen and her husband strive to be earth friendly in their usage of fossil fuels.

Bill Reynolds – Bill is a historian with the Campus Martius Museum in Marietta as well as an Exhibit Specialist.  Bill knows all about the ways of the Pioneers in Marietta.

The Barnstorming crew has been out looking for fine examples of the barns in the area and had to whittle the number down from the 40 or 50 that Mike Wengler wanted them to see!  I am sure that the tour will not disappoint.  Of course the Barn Detectives will be on the tour to enlighten, entertain and energize the participants!

Stay tuned – we will have a conference newsletter going out for those who are members.  And if you are a member you will also be receiving the pre-newsletter email that will announce the opening of registration ahead of the general public.

So if you are not a member…….you might want to consider becoming one!  You can become a member easily online through this website.  It is secure.

If any questions please email us at [email protected]