Several generations will be linked together when Tom Dull and family and volunteers restore an old barn on their property this April. Restoration of the barn, dating back to the 1800s, wouldn't be possible if not for the Internet and the support of barn restoration fans all over the country.
The Dull's barn was one of 10 nominated to be selected for restoration in the Campbell's Soup Company Help Grow Your Soup program. The campaign involved cooperation between Campbell's Soup and both the National FFA and National FFA Alumni Association.
More than 17,000 Facebook fans heard stories about the barns from their owners via Internet. Some 375,000 votes were cast for the 10 nominated barns. Only five of the 10 would receive help for restoration.
When the voting ended, the Dull's barn near Thorntown wound up in fourth place. A fast, intense restoration project is planned for April 15, 16 and 18, Dull notes.
The Clinton Prairie and Western Boone FFA chapters became active in the project, soliciting votes and promoting the effort. Chapter members and parents will help in the actual restoration.
A steering committee guides the project from here. It includes Lucy Whitehead, a Hoosier native, representing the National FFA Alumni, Patrick Padgett, Clinton Prairie FFA advisor, Don Haberlin, Western Boone FFA advisor, Jake Marty of Marty Builders, and Tom and Kerry Dull.
It's truly a community effort with a national flair, Dull notes. "Campbell Soup Company will provide some funding for materials, Valspar Company will donate paint and FFA members, alumni and community volunteers will provide the labor," Dull says.
In addition, Campbell's Soup has donated $500,000 to FFA to promote educational programs through this effort. The company is also expected to provide scholarship help for the local FFA chapters involved.
The renovation of the 42 foot by 72 foot pin-frame barn will include building some new doors, re-hanging all doors, repairing and replacing siding, minor repairs to the frame, installing a stairway and railings to the haymow, three coats of paint in red with white trim and landscaping. Previously, Dull put on a new roof, and had the stone foundation repaired and tuck-pointed. He also replaced the entire haymow floor last summer.
The barn holds memories for Dull, he says, from building straw tunnels and swinging on the hay rope as a youngster to helping fill the mow as a teenager. "Dad was a Pioneer seed dealer, and the ground floor was the warehouse," Dull recalls. "We unloaded and stacked semi loads of seed one bag at a time."
Cattle used the lean-to on the south side for shelter. Later, Dull's kids kept 4-H pigs in the lean-to on the north side of the barn.
"We use the barn in our Christmas tree operation today" Dull explains. "It's the first thing people see as they come around the bend in the road. We're giving it the facelift it needs to make a better first impression."