Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shut the Barn Door

When we bought the property, an old barn stood across the driveway.  It was on farmland owned by a non resident, managed by White Farm Management and rented by local farmers (I affectionately call them "the boys") for corn and beans.
The barn was still solid, plum and put together with wood pegs and joinery.   

The foundation was large field stones.  The basement or lower level was underground in the front and exposed to the farm lot in the back.  This portion was used to house animals.

The main floor was opened with both sliding and walk-in doors.  The top a large two tier haymow. 

We were told it was one of the Bishop Hill Colony barns.  They were erected in outlaying areas to make the movement/housing of grain, equipment and livestock easier.  With approximately 15,000 acres belonging to the Colony and oxes, horses and manpower the only mode of transportation, they needed these farm buildings.

The area around the barn had wells and several trees.  It had the earth berm drive to the front doors and an old fence between the lot and our drive.

Being a farm girl, I have a special love for old barns.  And it was easy to love this one especially because of it's historical significance, the age and the craftsmanship.  We inquired on a Monday about buying the land where it was situated.  On Thursday, when we arrived at the house, the barn had been pushed down into the basement and was burning.

We asked if we could gather the old foundation stones and we were told we could if we did it immediately, otherwise they would be buried with the debris after the burning stopped.  We lifted stones only cranes should have lifted (sorry back) and managed to save enough for a good many projects.     

To this day, tearing down this old beauty makes me sad but it wasn't our property and we had no say.  We had no time to negotiate or recommend.  I've always assumed it was done quickly to prevent any historical inquiries and preservation injunctions.

The photos are from when we saw the barn, with a large pile of trash we had been hauling out of the house in the front of the photo, after it was down and an oil painting I did some years later.

This was certainly one of the sad things we experienced during this house remodel.  It changed the landscape and view.  One that still gets my head to shaking when I think about the historical loss.

No comments:

Post a Comment