The Annual Ohio Barn Conference XIII was Outstanding!

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 HalkoDaniel 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.

carlson-cruck-frame-smOur 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.

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