Michigan Barn Preservation Network announces 2014 Barns of the Year

posted on March 20, 2014 1:21pm

CONTACT: Jerry Damon, Chair, Barn of the Year Committee, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Michigan Barn Preservation Network announces 2014 Barns of the Year

EAST LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Barn Preservation Network (MBPN) announced the 2014 Michigan Barn of the Year awards at its 19th annual conference and meeting. The 2014 annual conference, with the theme “Preservation Roads,was held March 7 and 8 during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week at Michigan State University.

This is the 17th year that the network has presented Barn of the Year awards. Including this year’s awardees, 55 barns from across Michigan have been recognized for their distinctive qualities and/or preservation efforts.

The Barn of the Year program annually honors Michigan barns that exemplify outstanding character in our state. Nominated barns must have been built before 1957 and be in use for one of four purposes. Barns must retain their overall appearance, both interior and exterior barn characteristics. Nominations are open to the public and reviewed by MBPN Awards Committee members, who pick the winners.

Six 2014 Barns of the Year were recognized:

  • Non-profit agricultural or adaptive use: the Van Hoosen barn, Rochester Hills, Oakland County. Owner: City of Rochester Hills.
  • Non-profit agricultural or adaptive use: Tower barn, Lowell, Kent County. Owner: Fallasburg Historical Society.
  • Commercial agricultural or adaptive use:
  1. Cottonwood Barn, Dexter, Washtenaw County. Owner: Laura and Dan Waitz. 
  2. Cherry Basket Farm, Omena, Leelanau County. Owner: Tom and Marsha Buehler.
  • Continuing family / private agricultural use:
  1. Markley Barn, Byron, Shiawassee County. Owner:  Randy and Denise Markley .
  2. Bauer Barn, Fowler, Clinton County. Owner: Clare Koenigsknecht.

Van Hoosen Barn: Patrick McKay and his wife, Karen, accepted the award. Patrick is supervisor of interpretive services at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm. The calf barn at the museum is the Barn of the Year. It was built in 1927 at the Van Hoosen Farm in Rochester Hills. The barn lost its roof in 1989 and remained in ruin until restoration efforts began in 2012. The concrete blocks, stone and footings of the original structure were restored, and a new upper section, roof, windows and doors duplicated the original characteristics of the 1927 barn.

The calf barn restoration was funded entirely by private donations. Future plans include the addition of heat and perhaps restrooms. Many weddings, parties and other events have been held at the barn.

Tower barn: Randy Mouw, barn restoration contractor, and Ed Roth, of the Fallasburg Historical Society, accepted the award.

The Tower barn is a circa 1850 barn on the Tower farm, which was famous for locally grown watermelons. At its zenith in the 1850s, Fallasburg boasted more than a hundred residents and town mills, a tannery, a general store, a boardinghouse and tavern, a post office, a schoolhouse, and a wagon and harness maker.

Cottonwood barn: Owners Dan and Laura Waitz accepted the award.

Cottonwood barn was built in the early 1900s with materials from older buildings taken down on the property. The barn was originally utilized as a dairy barn and also held stabled horses on the ground level. Cottonwood is currently a year-round event venue, hosting wedding receptions, corporate events, school functions, fundraisers/charity events, etc.

Cherry Basket Farm: Tom and Marsha Buehler accepted the award.

The hog barn (circa 1880-1910) was constructed first as a stick-framed structure under a gabled roof with a loft and a cold cellar below. Somewhat later, another larger gabled structure was added, also a wooden construction on a concrete pad with a metal roof.

The Buehlers have over the past few years modified the barn to be a catering kitchen. A building extension was added to accommodate a walk-in refrigerator, storage room and an ADA restroom, and the building was scraped, caulked and painted. In 2012, a large gravel patio was added, which incorporates a fire pit and covered ground oven.

Markley barn: Denise, Troy, Kyle and Randy Markley accepted the award at Michigan State University.

The Markley barn was built in the 1860s;, the roof was modified to a gambrel in the early 1900s. The family has been restoring and improving the structure of the barn since 1993. The boys are very active in 4-H and have an Angus cow/calf operation. They store about 2000 bales of hay. 

Bauer barn:The Koenigsknecht family accepted the award at Michigan State University.

The Bauer barn, a 32- by 72-foot gambrel-roof barn, was raised in 1939. As a toddler, Clare Koenigsknecht spent many hours in this barn. When he heard it was going to be taken down and replaced with a pole barn, he determined to save it and enlisted his family’s support. In early 2008, the family moved it down the road to the now Koenigsknecht family farm. Over the next three years, family members installed a new roof, siding, doors and floor.

The barn has become more than a structure for the Koenigsknecht family—it holds the stories of Clare’s childhood and is now used for family events. 

The Michigan Barn Preservation Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting appreciation, preservation and rehabilitation of Michigan barns, farmsteads and rural communities.


View News Archive