Monday, February 20, 2012

Efforts To Capture Images of Barns


Thousands of precariously leaning, rotting barns with peeling paint and missing boards dot America’s rural landscape.
The aging relics hold a certain romance for many, and interest is growing in numerous states in saving or at least documenting the rickety barns before they become victims of age and urban sprawl, the cost of maintenance too high when they no longer have a practical purpose.
Barn surveys have been started in states including Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont and Washington. With photographs and basic information about the architecture, historical character, use and condition of the barns, the surveys will give preservationists a glimpse of rural American and hints about how to save its bucolic landscape.

In Connecticut, photos have been taken of 8,200 barns, said Todd Levine, director of Historic Barns of Connecticut. The effort started in 2004, when an architectural historian was hired to document the 100 most visible barns in the state. Levine said the group launched a website in 2007, and the following year a grant program began providing money to assess barns’ conditions and look at ways to save and reuse them.
“The first step in preservation is documentation, so we need to know what we are losing to know what we need to do to protect them,’’ Levine said.

Back in Missouri, barn enthusiasts are being encouraged to attend an upcoming meeting where the preservation group plans to discuss potential partnerships with other organizations to encourage more people to document their barns and perhaps consider reusing them as homes or businesses.
“We are losing them fast,’’ Hart said, “so that is one of our first efforts to try to get as many of them documented as possible.’’
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Online:
Missouri Barn Alliance and Rural Network’s Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/y1NvOJ
National Barn Alliance website: http://barnalliance.org/
Missouri Preservation: http://www.preservemo.org/
Historic Barns of Connecticut: http://connecticutbarns.org/

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