Learn about barns, barn surveys at free March 1 event

Learn about barns, barn surveys at free March 1 event
Barbara Lang

This barn east of Dalton had its lettering restored and refreshed by late muralist Ruston Claude Baker. Farmers received either product or money for allowing Mail Pouch to use their barns for advertising.


Ohio is home to a multitude of historic timber-framed barns, but they are gradually disappearing as rural heritage and farming practices continue to shift. That’s why it’s so important to keep records of them before the barns are gone forever.

On Friday, March 1 from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Friends of Ohio Barns and members of the Ag Success Team will present a free program on conducting a successful barn survey at the Buckeye Agricultural Museum and Education Center, 877 W. Old Lincolnway (across from the Wayne County Fairgrounds). The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone with an interest in historic barns or conducting a successful barn survey in their area is encouraged to attend.

Speakers will include Laura Saeger, partner in Christian & Sons Inc., who began training as a timber framer in 1982. In 2000 she helped plan the first Ohio Barn Conference in Delaware, Ohio. She and her husband Rudy also are two of the original founders of Friends of Ohio Barns, an all-volunteer statewide organization that holds an annual two-day conference that includes an all-day barn tour. Saeger secured a grant to develop the official barn survey book that was used for the Wayne County barn survey and other Ohio counties.

“The Wayne County survey was partially completed, but we still need to finish Canaan, Congress, Chippewa, Baughman, Sugar Creek and Salt Creek townships,” she said.

Rudy Christian has restored historic structures since 1982 around the country and internationally. He will talk about the significance and importance of the conservation of traditional timber-framed buildings. He has been involved in many historically significant restoration projects including the preservation of the 1861 Detroit Farmers Market, which is now reconstructed in Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum, and the Big Barn at Malabar Farm State Park.

Paul Locher, curator of the Buckeye Ag Museum, will be on hand to tell about his role in preserving the Billman Buchholz barn. This circa 1816 log barn is believed to be the oldest barn in Wayne County. It was dismantled and moved from the original location on Oldman Road when the 80-acre potato farm was sold for the site of the Wooster High School. The hand-hewn logs were moved several times before they became a permanent exhibit in the Buckeye Ag Museum.

Pam Whitney Gray, barn consultant, will have her book, “Ohio Barns Inside and Out with the Barn Consultant,” for sale. Gray performs barn consulting all over Ohio and surrounding states. Gray spent five years consulting on barns with her father Chuck Whitney. She continues her father’s work to spread the story that barns tell of agricultural heritage and to assist owners with a stewardship plan.

Because farmland preservation is so critical to the area’s rural way of life, Jessica Eikleberry, Wayne County Farmland Preservation specialist, will explain the various preservation tools available from the Ohio Department of Farmland Preservation. The state offers Agricultural Security Areas, the Agricultural Easement Donation Program and the Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program for farmers to preserve their land.

Attendees also can learn about the Historic Family Farm program. If your farm has been continuously owned by your family for at least 100 years, you may apply for this designation through the Department of Farmland Preservation. This distinction will give you five additional points on your LAEPP application if applying for a permanent easement. Currently, there are nearly 2,000 farms enrolled in the program since its inception in 1993 with 16 farms in Wayne County.

Photographer Cynthia Vaughn will have photos on canvas of local barns for sale during the event.

Plan to attend one or all sessions and be sure to take time to enjoy the collections at the museum. The event is free to the public, but donations for the museum are appreciated. For more information call 330-464-0624.

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