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
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 http://ohiofarmmuseum.com to check out everything this place has to offer. Check out his blog at http://heritagehomesteadclasses.blogspot.com. 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.
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.
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.
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 www.friendsofslaterunfarm.org