In March of 2018, we were approached by historic groups in Farmington and a local contractor to see if we were interested in saving a barn in Farmington.
The barn, located on Grand River Avenue just outside the Farmington Historic District, was going to be demolished (along with the house on the property) to make way for a restaurant and condominiums.
The condo/restaurant project was moving forward, and there were no resources available in the Farmington historical community for the barn, nor was there a site available. Time was short.
So we visited the barn, and agreed with the Farmington folks that it needed to be saved. We decided that, should the funding be available to move it to Pine Grove, we would accept the barn as a disassembled building and store it for a year. If a Farmington-based person or organization wanted it back within that timeframe, we’d give it back.
When the developer became convinced that the building needed to be preserved, he stepped up, offering $30,000 to take the barn apart and deliver it to Pine Grove. And so, we accepted it.
We have had a need at Pine Grove for additional storage for some time. We’ve also felt a strong desire to get a barn of some type – aside from the “cool factor” of having one, we have a carriage that needs a home, and a barn fits the Moses Wisner/Pine Grove history very well.
In April of 2018, the barn started to come down: its roof was partially removed, and it was cleared of all of the junk stored inside.
And then the contractor disappeared. We had no contact, despite repeated efforts on our part, to reach them.
Fast forward to July, and we received word that the relationship between the contractor and the developer had soured. From what we have heard, the funds to move the barn had vacated the premises, along with the contractor. The developer was moving forward with demolishing the barn. And we faced a conundrum.
Do we save it? Is it that historically important? What would a logical group say?
And then we answered the question: Forget logic, it’s a great barn, and deserves to be saved.
We’ve gone from there. On August 23, 2018, the barn was delivered to Pine Grove for storage.
And our free barn has cost OCPHS about $20,000 to move, and possibly another $80,000 to raise it again.