Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to drive nearly every one of the contiguous United States – many of those miles over what might be considered to be back roads. This has afforded me the opportunity to view literally thousands of historic barns.
These barns come in all shapes and sizes, as well as states of upkeep. I’ve seen one hundred year old plus barns which have been utterly pristine – probably in better condition today, than when they were constructed. I’ve also seen ones which were either on, or past, their last legs.
The National Barn Alliance (www.barnalliance.org) is a nation-wide, non-profit organization coordinating preservation efforts to save America’s Historic Barns. The Alliance’s members include farmers and city folks, students, historical groups, timber framers and lots of people just like me who happen to love barns.
Their mission is to provide national leadership for the preservation of America’s historical barns and their rural heritage. This is accomplished by encouraging the documentation, through surveys and photography of historic barns and other rural structures; supporting educational programming and materials related to barn and farmstead preservation; encouraging the creation of and supporting existing state and local barn preservation organizations and preservation programs; and facilitating the sharing of information on barns, their history and their maintenance by connecting members and specialists during events, conferences and online social media.
The National Barn Alliance is a membership organization with a volunteer board. Members of the Board of Directors are active in local, state and national efforts to preserve America’s historic barns.
I’m hoping – a century or so from now – someone will look at some of the now 15,000 plus pole buildings I have been involved with, and find enough historical significance in them to give the loving care to them, as the National Barn Alliance and its associated preservation groups and preservation-focused organizations do with the barns which are now being loved, cared for and restored.