Farm Progress

This Old Barn: Historic barn in Carroll County will be part of the farm tour on April 27.

Pamela Whitney Gray

March 2, 2018

3 Min Read
SWEITZER BARN: One of the barns on the Friday Barn Tour is an 1820s Sweitzer barn and an 1839 stone house that sit on 89 acres in Carroll County.

Carroll County is the host for the IXX Annual Barn Conference and Tour, sponsored by Friends of Ohio Barns, April 26, 27 and 28. A Thursday afternoon workshop will be held at the Algonquin Festival Complex. April 27 is Barn Tour day, relax and enjoy a day of southern Ohio scenery and beautiful barns as tour buses navigate the rolling hills for you.

April 28 is conference day with an international flair. The speakers will entertain and educate attendees on their findings and works across Europe and in Miramar. The conference will be held in the FFA Camp’s new facility. Don’t forget to bring your wallet for the silent auction. All reservations must be made in advance.

One of the featured stops on the Barn Tour is an 1820s Sweitzer barn and an 1839 stone house that sit on 89 acres in Carroll County. During the first years on the homestead, settlers constructed a crude log cabin for the family while the fields were cleared for planting and the Sweitzer style barn was built. When the time was right they built a proper big-house.

Wayne (a charter member of Friends of Ohio Barns) and Beverly Spies purchased the property in 1984 and developed a vision for the historic property. First, they renovated the house. They installed a septic system and bathroom, rebuilt the compromised chimneys, installed a new furnace, and added insulation, among other upgrades.

Next, they turned their attention to the barn. They realized they had never seen one quite like theirs. It was built with scribe rule construction using Roman-numeral marriage marks and a principle rafter system. Research told them it was a Sweitzer barn, probably constructed in the 1820s.

The barn was situated close to the road. Much of the barn’s foundation was collapsing. There were many missing floor boards, and a fair amount of the siding was missing or loose. Nevertheless, sheep were still kept in the basement. The Spies knew the barn’s foundation would need to be extensively repaired or rebuilt to save and preserve the historic structure.

They consulted closely with Ohio History Connection and National Trust for Historic Preservation as they made their plans. They wanted to be sure the barn and house could be officially listed as national and state historical properties, and to ensure they were performing historically-accurate restoration work. They found that moving the structure was acceptable, as well as re-roofing and re-siding it, as long as historically appropriate materials were used.

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AN OLDIE: Marriage marks can be found on this scribe rule barn that was likely constructed in the 1820s.

Many local craftsmen were sought out to complete the various tasks, beginning with moving the barn to its present location in 2000. The original stones were used to rebuild the foundation. Poplar and oak timbers were milled to replace the siding and missing oak flooring, while terne standing-seam was chosen for re-roofing.

Today, the inside of the barn looks much as it did when it was first constructed, with a place for livestock on the ground level, a threshing floor in the center bay of the upper level, mows for hay storage in the end bays and granaries in the forebay. The original main doors swung on wooden hinges, but have now been converted to sliding doors.

Sadly, in 2002, Wayne and Beverly were in a car accident. Wayne died from his injures later that spring. Beverly wanted to be sure the barn project was completed and enlisted the help of her daughter and son-in-law, Deborah and Scott Druhot, who now own the property. Many gatherings of family and friends were held on the farm over the next 15 years. Beverly died in the fall of 2011.

This tour stop has a beautiful setting with very interesting and historic barn and house. Along with five other barns, this year’s tour line-up is impressive. You won’t want to miss it. Make sure to mark your calendars and make your reservations now by visiting the Friends of Ohio Barns webpage at friendsofohiobarns.org.

Contact Pamela Whitney Gray at barnconsultant.com, or call 740-263-1369.

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