- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - When Ed Pollock went looking for historical barns in Wayne County, he hoped to find about 100. His list is at 580 and growing.

Pollock, director of the Wayne County Resource Inventory Council, is conducting a barn inventory to identify and catalog as many of the barns and their unique features as possible.

“Barns tell us so much about our heritage, the rural lifestyle,” Pollock told the Palladium-Item (https://pinews.co/1whFQSy ). “Fire has taken some and some have been torn down because they’re expensive to maintain. I think it’s important to document this part of our history.”

Pollock and the RIC have created maps and posted information on the inventory council’s website, documenting the county’s historical and geographical features, water availability and water resources, historic sites, soil types, cemeteries, former dump sites and a dozen more.

Pollock said the barn inventory reveals building styles and customs from the days when they were constructed.

Ron Hoover of rural Hagerstown is helping Pollock with the inventory. He said the goal is to record the history of the county’s barns and build awareness about the importance of preserving the remaining barns.

“It’s very important to me. My great-great-grandfather’s barn, which he built with his bare hands in 1859, is still standing. That’s part of our family history,” Hoover said. “We’ve still got more to go out and see. It’s kind of surprising how many have been in the family for 100 years.”

The RIC received a $2,000 grant from the Wayne County Foundation to do the inventory.

Pollock said the oldest barn he has found in Wayne County was built in 1810. What makes a barn historic or noteworthy are the wooden pins used in construction and not nails.

Another feature is that logs used in the construction are chopped and axe-hewn rather than sawed.

“It’s all just very interesting,” Pollock said. “For a lot of these barns, I would have loved to have been around to see them constructed. The framework had to be assembled on the ground and then hoisted into place.

“It must have been back-breaking work,” he said.

Pollock said he never goes on a property without the homeowner’s permission.

“And we haven’t been turned down yet when we’ve asked to look at a barn,” he said.

The state of Indiana has created a property tax deduction for an eligible “heritage barn” - one that was built before 1950, retains sufficient integrity of design, materials and construction to identify it as a barn, and one not used for agricultural or business purposes.

“I guess it just has to be sitting there,” Pollock said.

He said he has worked on the barn inventory for three years and will continue until he runs out of barns to investigate.

“We’re still going strong and we’ll keep at it,” he said.

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Information from: Palladium-Item, https://www.pal-item.com


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