The ninth annual Friends of Ohio Barns (FOB) Conference will be held in Springfield on March 28-30. The central theme will be adaptive re-use of Ohio Barns. This educational and fun-filled get-together is open to anyone interested in the preservation of these icons of Ohio agriculture.
The event will begin March 28 with an optional all-day chartered bus tour and inspection of eight older barn structures in the Champaign/Clark County area. Activities on March 29 will take place indoors at the Holiday Inn in Springfield. The conference will conclude March 30 before lunch at the Hertzler Historical House and newly restored barn at George Rogers Clark Historical Park in Springfield.
Friends of Ohio Barns is a non-profit organization formed in 2001 to promote awareness of the significance of Ohio’s older barns. The urban growth and development of the state, coupled with the changes in agriculture practices, farm downsizing, increased costs and lack of repairs, has a significant impact on barns throughout the state. These factors are threatening the future existence of our historic farm buildings.
The Friends of Ohio Barns quarterly newsletter, annual conference and Web site help to keep members and other interested individuals informed about practical and fiscally responsible ways to conserve and maintain their barns. The organization helps to bring barn stewards and repair specialists together by working with other groups like the Ohio State University Extension Service, Barn Again! in Ohio, The National Barn Alliance and the Ohio Historical Society.
The annual Ohio Barn Conference is held in different areas of the state each year. Attendees have toured many magnificent and sometimes under-appreciated barn structures.
Historians, trades people, and experts knowledgeable in barn repair and preservation serve as speakers. This year’s adaptive re-use theme will place emphasis on the possibilities and considerations of converting older barns to more suitable uses. The presenters are individuals who have experience in the maintenance of old barns and in doing such conversions.
Two respected barn repair, rehab design and construction professionals will host Friday’s popular bus tour. It will include visits to an octagonal barn and a double-crib log barn, as well as to a ground one with fish belly beams, a swing beam barn and others. Lunch that day will be at the Concord Township School House.
On Saturday, presentations and activities will include:
• Welcome and explanation of new Friends of Ohio Barns programs by President Ric Beck
• Keynote speaker Alexander Greenwood of The New Jersey Barn Co.
• Discussion by the Friends of Ohio Barns “Barn Detectives,” Rudy Christian and Larry Sulzer, on what was observed and learned on the previous day’s barn tour
• Steve Gordon on historic documents and barns
• Hands-on wood identification presentation
• Explanation of typical adaptive re-use projects
• Barn repair panel (experienced trades people and Friends of Ohio Barns members will field questions from the audience)
• Friends of Ohio Barns annual meeting
• Hands-on demonstrations of typical barn repair work
• Silent auction and live entertainment
• Presentation of the Barn of the Year awards in two categories—continued agricultural use and adaptive reuse.
Sunday’s activities will begin with breakfast in the recently restored Hertzler Barn at George Rogers State Park. Park Superintendent Jim Campbell and contractor Rudy Christian will explain why and how this magnificent barn was recovered, relocated and restored. The conference will close after a tour of the adjacent Hertzler House Historical Museum.
Anyone who wishes to go on the Friday barn bus tour must reserve a seat prior to the conference as lunch will be provided and only two buses are going. Reservations for the tour and the conference can be made by accessing the Friends of Ohio Barns Web site at http://ohiobarns.osu.edu. Additional information is available on the Web site or by contacting Friends of Ohio Barns directly at FriendsOhioBarns@aol.com.
Lodging is not included in the conference fees and arrangements for same should be made directly with the Springfield Holiday Inn, 937-323-8631 (mention FOB to get special rate), or with other motels in the area.