Frequently Asked Questions


What makes this barn so special? 

Take a look at the barn photo above. See the addition on the side, and that the addition is at a lower ground level than the barn? That’s obviously a garage. In the early 20th century as cars replaced horse-drawn vehicles, many carriage barns were converted to garages – the horse stalls and feed boxes were taken out.

Because of an “accident of location” on the property, this barn wasn’t renovated – they needed to put the garage on the side of the barn, because there wasn’t room to navigate a large car to get inside the barn door (and because you need a concrete floor for a car). The barn subfloor is wood.

So, the original horse stalls, feed boxes and hay chutes are intact. And that makes this building quite rare.

Why are you saving this barn?

Aside from the obvious “because its historic” answer, we have a couple of very good reasons.

  1. It tells a story. The story it tells is of doctors, veterinarians and other people who needed to keep their horse and carriage at home, rather than a livery service. It teaches us a lot about how horses were cared for in a town, and it tells us a bit about Farmington’s history.
  2. OCPHS has a 1901 Standard Vehicle carriage. It was built in Pontiac, and is a beautiful example of Pontiac’s prominence in the carriage industry. Well, that carriage fits in this barn – not just physically, but historically. It’s exactly the kind of carriage our barn owner would have owned. Right now, OCPHS has nowhere to keep our carriage – it’s in a storage facility. The barn lets us bring our carriage home.
  3. These barns would have been common in Pontiac and nearby towns, but there aren’t many examples of them today. Even if there were, there’s nowhere you can go to see one up close: they’re behind private homes. Putting the barn at Pine Grove gives people to see and learn from it up close.
  4. It adds a lot to the story of Pine Grove. We don’t have an example of a carriage barn as the Wisner family of the late 19th century would have had on the property – it was torn down long ago. This barn “fits” the Pine Grove story.
  5. One very practical reason: We need storage space! Not just for our carriage, but for artifacts and items that can be safely stored in a barn environment. Because we are cramped for storage, many of these artifacts are taking up space where other items would be better kept

What’s the timing on this?

Time is very short. The barn sits on land that is being redeveloped. The developer has graciously given us until August 31st to get the barn off the property.

What’s the cost? 

We have no budget for this. We were offered the barn in March of this year, dependent on the developer paying for the move. That is no longer an option, although the developer is providing some funding. This year, we must raise funds to pay for the move. Next year, we will need to raise funds to erect the barn at Pine Grove.

We’ve created a gofundme campaign to cover the cost of disassembling and moving the barn to Pine Grove, or if you’d rather, you can make a donation using the links below.

In order to re-erect this barn, we are going to need some financial support, and we hope you feel this is a worthy endeavor. Some of the costs we are incurring are:

  • Payment to a licensed, insured contractor to oversee and carry out the disassembly of the barn.
  • Ground preparation for the barn site, and for storage of the barn until we put it up.

Costs we will incur as we put the barn up (next year) are:

  • Permits and permissions.
  • Concrete foundation work.
  • A new roof, floor repair, and probably new siding.
  • Hayloft work to make the hayloft safe to access and view.
  • Utilities work (gas, electric and water).
  • Costs associated with making the barn safe for our use and for public tours – the rolling door on the front of the barn, stairway railings, lighting, and handicapped accessibility issues.

How can I help?

  1. Get the word out! Share this page on Facebook. Share our gofundme page, too. And let your friends know we need support.
  2. Contribute! Make a financial donation or come help us manage the project.