Save an Old Barn: Ideas, Resources and Funding
Maintaining and Restoring Vintage Barns
If you have an old barn in the country, it may have fallen into disrepair. If it's over 100 years old, the barn has the wear-and-tear of many years on its roof, walls and support beams. Repairing such a barn can be expensive and a daunting task.
Maybe it's because I grew up on a farm in Kansas, but I hate to see a neglected barn. As I drive down the highway, I feel sad to see an old red barn sagging and with peeling paint. In some cases the paint is long gone. As the number of family farms dwindle, more and more we see these forgotten and uncared for barns.
Once it was the showplace of that farm; filled with livestock and a supply of hay for the winter. Barns are an important part of our rural achitectural heritage. If you have an old barn and are trying to save it, you'll find some useful links and resources below.
(photo of a barn in Maine - taken by Virginia Allain)
Supplies and Info to Help with a Barn Project - Rescue an old barn
Need lighting for your old barn? How about getting a feasibility study done or having someone dismantle and reassemble the barn? Check out the resources I've found for this.
- The Original Barn Light: Rustic Lighting, Sign Lighting, Wall Sconces, Pendant Lighting, Chandeliers
Made in the USA source for wall sconces, pendant lighting, sign lighting, ceiling fans, chandeliers and The Original Barn Light. BarnLightElectric has many lighting styles; barn lighting, rustic lighting, country, cabin and lodge styles.
- The Barn People
Vintage Barns Dismantled and Reassembled - Feasibility Studies - Consulting - Restoration - Preservation The site includes: Barns Explained, Inventory, Dismantling, Restoration, Reassembly, Completed Projects, Photo Galleries
- Michigan Barn Preservation Network - Rehabilitation of agricultural, commercial, residential, and pu
Barns are economic resources and symbols of our agriculture heritage. They are attractive images on the landscape. The Michigan Barn Preservation Network is committed to rehabilitation of barns for agricultural, commercial, residential, and public us
- John High, The Barnsaver
RECLAIMING HISTORY FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE: Recycling Barns Since 1990
Books about Restoring Barns on Amazon - Available from Amazon
This book will inspire you to restore your favorite old barn. The author offers great advice for saving the original wood and for moving structures around. You'll see beautiful restoration examples the will make you get up and get renovating!
This is one of the best books on renovating barns out there today. The author explains in great detail how to repair and restore every area of the structure. If you have issues with leaning, buckling foundation or rotting posts, you'll find awesome ways to fix those problems as well as roof repair and more!
The author of this book has over 30 years of experience in restoring old barns. Great advice is offered here.
Photos, text and even drawings are combined to give you structural detail and finished buildings. This is an easy to read book that is enjoyable and informative. For those who enjoy looking at these magnificent buildings, this book is a must-have for your library!
Here's a Project to Save the Old Barns in Maine
It's great to see an individual take the initiative to call attention to the rapid deterioration and loss of old barns.
In an area like Maine, the heavy winter snows can collapse any barn that's already sagging. The old timbers may have lasted a hundred years or more but finally age and neglect take their toll.
Click on the link to see Timothy Parks' barn paintings.
- Beautiful Ruins by Timothy Parks & Kickstarter
Timothy Parks is raising funds for Beautiful Ruins on Kickstarter! An artist's backroads odyssey to capture the beauty of Maine's old barns...before they disappear!
Recognizing Different Barn Styles - Book available from Amazon
If you are looking for accurate information on a style of barn and where it may be located this is the book for you. (excerpt from an Amazon review)
More Field Guides to Old Barns and Barn Architecture
There are some pretty unique barns in New England. I like the ones in Maine and NH that connect to the house.
Have You Heard of Barn Quilts? - Read about how this kind of tourism helps an area
In Sac County, Iowa, many vintage barns are ornamented with a brightly-painted barn quilt. The idea was to call attention to the annual quilt show, but draws many tourists to the area to see the old barns and their displayed art piece.
The idea is catching on in quite a few areas. Here are links to some locales where you can view barn quilts.
Two Minute Video Shows the Making and Hanging of a Barn Quilt
Links for Information on Barn Quilts
- Barn Quilts ... Covering Barns Across Rural America
Fans of Americana are enjoying a new craze sweeping across rural America, barn quilts. These wood quilt blocks are attached to barns and other buildings as public art. Learn how organizations have established driving tours known as Quilt Trails to in
- The Barn Quilts of Sac County Iowa
Barn quilts are large, colorful 8-foot square wooden blocks. mounted on barns or cribs that are at least 50 years old.
- "Way Back When" Barn Quilts
Now you can fill those open spaces on your barn, house, or even in your garden with the age-old art of hand painted barn quilt squares! Barn quilts are outdoor art. They are painted to withstand Mother Nature's seasonal elements. Each quilt is one-o
- Green County Barn Quilts
Barn quilts to tour in Green County, Wisconsin.
- Barn Quilt Capital of Iowa-Washington County Iowa
Barn Quilts of Washington County Iowa
Vintage Barn in Southern Maine (photo by Virginia Allain)
More Links to Help with Your Restoration - of an old barn
More web pages to help with restoring, dismantling and researching your aging barn.
- Old barns - identifying, restoring, fixing & remodeling
Old barns - identifying, preserving, fixing and remodeling - plus personal memories from the This Old House site.
- Restoring Your Barn - Questions to Ask before Starting
This helps you sort through some questions and get your thinking straight before starting.
- How to Determine the Age of Wood Beams in a Barn | eHow.com
If you're planning to demolish an old barn, possibly because it has become unstable and unsafe or possibly because you need the acreage for another purpose, you might be faced with a requirement to document the barn, its materials and its age to sati
More Helpful Sites for Saving Old Barns - Subscribe to the Barn Journal or Other Magazines about Barns
Check out the web page which has useful information.
- The Barn Journal
Dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of traditional farm architecture
- Magazine :: Iowa Barn Foundation
The Iowa Barn Foundation is dedicated to preserving Iowa's rural agricultural buildings by giving barn tours and raising money.
- The BARN Again Program
This is a project put together by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Successful Farming magazine. Check out the advice they offer.
You Can Make a Barn Poster - Using Zazzle and Sell It Online
This can be a way to raise funds for your barn restoration. Make posters, mugs, tote bags, cards, etc. on Zazzle (a print-on-demand site). It costs nothing to put your photo on lots of products which are featured online. You don't have to handle the sales, the products, or the shipping. Zazzle takes care of all that and you get a commission from each item sold.
Use Photos of Your Barn to Earn Money
- You can put your own photos on products at Zazzle or Cafe Press to sell online. The sites offer mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads, posters and many other products. There is no charge to you, just sign up and add your photos or artwork.
Promote the products to locals and tourists, perhaps with a flyer at the chamber of commerce. They can go to the online site to buy a mug or poster with your barn on it. You get a commission for each sale.
Click on this example of a barn poster to get an idea. Look around Zazzle for more details on joining the site.
Help for Old Barns
A State-by-State Listing
More to Come
As I find more resources, I'll add them here. This listing is not complete.
Be sure to look at adjacent states for some barn specialist that may be useful to you.
Connecticut - Resources for Saving a Barn in Connecticut
The funding on some historic trusts and government funding comes and goes. Check on each of these to see the current status of their funding.
- Historic Barn Grants | Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation
What is the Barns Grant: an historic preservation technical assistance and granting program of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, with funding from the Connecticut General Assembly.
- Historic Barns of Connecticut (a blog)
Check this blog now and then to see if there is any news of funding. Better yet, subscribe to the blog to get regular updates from it.
Georgia - Resources for Saving a Barn in Georgia
- Grants | Historic Preservation Division -- Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Find out about grants available from the state of Georgia for preservation. They did give a grant to repair a barn that was part of a literary site in the state.
Indiana - Resources to Save a Barn in Indiana
- Indiana Landmarks - Rural Preservation
Each year, Indiana Landmarks's Rural Preservation Council honors Hoosiers who show exemplary stewardship of historic agricultural landmarks.
- Indiana Landmarks - Grants and Loans
Preserving historic landmarks requires research, restoration skills, commitment, enthusiasm-and money. Indiana Landmarks designed our grant and loan programs to help local preservation organizations save and restore historic places. We keep the paper
Iowa - Resources for Saving a Barn in Iowa
- Iowa Barn Savers
Barn Savers find, inspect, preserve, disassemble and assist in transporting antique barns located in NE Iowa to your location - incorporate a piece of American History into your life.
- The Iowa Barn Foundation
Iowa Barn Foundation Web site. Find information about barn preservation and restoration, awards of distinction, matching grants, tax incentives, and farm conservancy.
Kansas - Resources for Saving a Barn in Kansas
- Kansas Barn Alliance
Welcome to the home page of the Kansas Barn Alliance, Inc., a Kansas not-for-profit organized in 2006 to discover, memorialize and preserve the story of rural Kansas, especially barns.
- Find Funding, Kansas State Historical Society
Grants and Incentives Heritage Trust Fund (HTF) Competitive grant program for projects on national and state register-listed buildings Tax Credits Federal and State income tax credits for rehabilitating historic buildings Historic Preservation Fund (
- Schamber Historic Preservation
Saving an old building from the wrecking ball gives us great satisfaction. We have consulted with the Kansas State Historical Society and its' architects on many historical sites in Kansas and worked on five of the states' 17 historical sites.
Maryland - Resources to Save Old Barns in Maryland
- Barn Restoration and Structural Repair
Barn Restoration and Structural Repair
- Tobacco Barns - Preservation Maryland
Southern Maryland Tobacco Barn Initiative The initiative, which will be administered by Preservation Maryland, attempts to comprehensively address the threats facing tobacco barns through funding, public policy, outreach and education, survey, and in
Massachusetts - Resources for Saving a Barn in Massachusetts
- Barn Restoration :: Colonial Barn Restoration - Timber Frame Specialists
Barn Restoration Colonial Barn Restoration specializes in restoring timer frame barns including copulas, roofs, sills, and structural work. They also work on barn conversions.
Resources for Saving a Barn in Michigan
- Michigan Barn Preservation Network (Facebook Group)
This is a group on Facebook with over 500 members. The Michigan Barn Preservation Network is an active state-wide 501(c) 3 organization of barn owners and enthusiasts. MBPN fosters sharing of barn experiences, hosts an annual conference, publishes a
- Michigan Barn Preservation Network
Learn more about this state-wide network.
New York - Resources for Saving a Barn in New York State
- New York State Barn Coalition
New York State Barn Restoration and Preservation Grant Program
Pennsylvania - Resources for Saving a Barn in Pennsylvania
- John High, The Barnsaver (Pennsylvania)
RECLAIMING HISTORY FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE:Recycling Barns Since 1990 - Lots of useful information "A Pennsylvania lawmaker proposes state grants to provide owners with half the costs of restoring pre-1880 barns. The bill by Rep. Mark Keller would estab
- 18th Century Restorations, Inc.
Located in Pottstown, PA., they specialize in period correct restoration and preservation maintenance of historic structures.
- Historic Barn & Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania
Find out about meetings, barn tours and read the newsletter for this organization.
Texas - Resources for Saving a Barn in Texas
- Heritage Barns
At Heritage Barns we locate, document, dismantle, and restore fine, 18th and 19th century barns and timber-frame homes for reuse as unique historic residences, offices and work places. We make custom doors, flooring, staircases, trusses and millwork
Vermont - Resources for Saving a Barn in Vermont
Long sleeve barn saving t-shirt by jhill7777
- Vermont Division For Historic Preservation - Financing Assistance, Barn Grants
The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has had a 50/50 matching grants program to assist owners of historic agricultural buildings (barns, corn cribs, sheds, grist mills, etc.) since 1991.
- Welcome To Barn People - We LOVE Barns!
We're glad you dropped by The Barn People. We've been dismantling, restoring and reassembling vintage Vermont barns for over thirty five years.
- Vermont Barn Census
Click Here to see some of the barns we've mapped! A Project of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, University of Vermont Historic Preservati
- Barn Grants | Agency of Commerce & Community Development
Vermont.gov > Historic Preservation > Grants and Financial Agency of Commerce & Community Development
Wisconsin - Resources for Saving a Barn in Wisconsin
- Wisconsin's Historic Buildings of the Wisconsin Historical Society
On this site you can find information on Wisconsin's historic barns, information on proper rehabilitation techniques for historic barns, information about financial assistance available to barn owners, and links to organizations that assist barn owne
- Save a Barn books
Wisconsin Barns Copies ordered here will be signed by the authors. Take a tour of the Barns of Wisconsin with photographer Ernest J. Schweit and writer Nancy Schumm-Burgess. The 80 page book features 107 photos of Wisconsins treasures, and history an
National Resources and Programs for Barns
Besides looking at grants available in the state-by-state list above, look around for nationwide programs to preserve vintage barns.
- Federal Tax Credits for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings - Barns
PDF file from the National Park Service
- BARN AGAIN!
When the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Successful Farming magazine launched BARN AGAIN! in 1987, historic barns were considered doomed. Obsolete for modern farming needs and too expensive to maintain as family heirlooms, old barns appe
- National Barn Alliance
The National Barn Alliance is a nation-wide, non-profit organization coordinating these efforts to save America's Historic Barns. Our members are farmers and city dwellers, students, historical groups, timberframers, and lots of people who just love
A research tool and directory of resources for historic preservation and cultural resource preservation. Links to grants and funding for historic preservation.
Campbell's Soup & Old Barns - and other programs to help old barns
- Restoring old barns: Restoring old barns
The Barn Again! program has spiked a renewed interest in preserving the character of rural America by encouraging people to renovate their existing barns instead of building new structures. National Trust for Historic Preservation
Books on Finding and Applying for Grants - to save an old barn
You can borrow books like these from the public library. Ask to see their grant directories. Usually these are in the reference section or the library may subscribe to an online grants and foundation directory.
Anything to Add?
Please add a note in the comment section if you know of foundations, grants, government aid, or other resources for saving a barn.
Barns That Have Been Saved
Barns Saved and Repurposed- Success Stories
Read about others who've succeeded in restoring their barn and see how they did it.
- Willow Decor: Historic Barn Restoration
What do you do with an old, dilapidated barn? The rear of this barn had actually collapsed and had to be rebuilt.
- This Old House Magazine - How To Take One Old Barn and Call It Home
Of course, one of the biggest draws of old barns is the lofty space they offer, dwarfing even the largest rooms in conventional homes.
Barn Restoration - Success Stories
- Barn Restoration News Articles Colonial Barn Restoration - Timber Frame Specialists
Barn Restoration News Articles Colonial Barn Restoration specializes in restoring timer frame barns including copulas, roofs, sills, and structural work.
- Barn Restoration
Barn Restoration Out buildings Farm Building Antique Tractor History Tires Farmall Farm Tractors Hay Balers ,Hay Wagons,Farm Wagons
- Trillium Dell-Barn Restoration
Trillium Dell Timberworks dismantled, restored, and re-erected this c. 1870 barn multipurpose barn onto a new bank foundation at a new location. The barn was an early "scientific barn."
Rescued Barns and Other Unusual Conversions - Book available from Amazon
I'm amazed at the unique uses for old barns. People are very inventive in converting these into homes or businesses.
See One Barn Restored
People Who Are Saving a Barn - Their Story
- Barn Restoration
Years of neglect had finally taken its toll on the family barn. For quite some time the barn itself was of little use. It had rotted away and powder post beetles had weakened floor beams in all but one bay The roof was leaking, broken and missing win
- A Barn Raising Experience (Michigan)
Click the images below to see larger photographs with captions. Five years ago, my husband and I bought a farmhouse and dilapidated barn in Homer, Michigan. The house, not more than a shack, needed immediate attention.
- Project to Save a Barn in West Ft Bend County, Texas
Look at what this project is trying to do and how they are working to preserve a barn.
Barns That Didn't Get Saved
Sad News of Historic Barns Torn Down
- Historic Cedar Falls barn demolished last week - TimesRepublican.com
Central Iowa News from The Times Republican, the source for news, sports and information on Marshalltown and Central Iowa.
- Historic Southborough barn demolished today - Southborough, MA
"It's no longer in use, it's rotting, the roof is leaking and it's now become a liability," Jericho Hill Road resident Dave Johnson said yesterday.
More News of Barns Collapsing
- Outlook Farm owners file suit in barn collapse
A lawsuit filed Thursday has Bradford and Erin Morse seeking more than $200,000 in damages from David D. Parker Structural Restoration. The Brattleboro, Vt., company was in the process of rebuilding the historic structure when it collapsed in Februar
- Wind Causes Further Collapse of Round Barn
Strong winds Thursday may have finished off what Mother Nature began last month on a century-old round barn on Saginaw Road south of Joplin.
for Old Barns
Fundraising Ideas to Save Old Barns
Make a calendar to sell as a fundraiser.
- Vermont Artists Give a Barn a Boost in Painting Marathon
Last week, as part of a project Evans initiated called Artists for Barns, he and 16 artists from around New England set up their easels on the Milstones' property and got to work painting the barn. That is, pictures of the barn.
Make a Video to Solicit Donations to Save a Barn
The first YouTube video is a wonderful example of this. Possibly you could get Kickstarter funding for your old barn. Take a look at the Kickstarter Basic FAQs to see how it might work for you.
Getting Local Help for an Old Barn
In this news story, a local rescue team practices shoring up a building to prevent collapsing. This provided a valuable service to a barn owner while giving the firefighters some experience.
- Bucks rescue task force preserves historic barn while practicing simulated disaster - Morning Call
Firefighters and other members of a specialized rescue team from Bucks County were in Hilltown Township practicing how to save a building from collapsing. And by it, they were saving history.
Christmas and Old Barns
Decorate Your Barn for the Holidays
Get Ideas for Decorating the Barn for Christmas
- Decorating a Horse Barn for Christmas
Decorating a Horse Barn for Christmas. We have a huge boarding barn (for horse). We want to decorate for the holidays. We have 8 rather huge posts kind of like hitching posts that we decorate for every season and we are stumped for Christmas. They ar
- MaryJanesFarm Farmgirl Connection - Decorating your barn
Some good suggestions on this forum, including a wreath made of barbed wire and Christmas lights.
- Christmas Decorations?? - Baywind Farm Horse Forum
Christmas Decorations?? Horse General Interest