Hoosiers from across the state are coming together to save Indiana barns
In the fall of 2013 an article ran in the Indianapolis Star and newspapers across Indiana describing the current state of Indiana barns. The news was bleak. Around 20,000 wood barns still stand, compared with 30,000 a decade ago; only a tenth as many as dotted our Hoosier landscape a century ago.
Indiana barns are disappearing fast. Every year, we drive by familiar farmsteads and shake our heads as we watch the collapse of another iconic symbol of the Hoosier Heartland. While Indiana still has more barns per square mile than all but five other states, the financial incentives to rehab old barns lag behind efforts in other states.
"Well now we're just about down to the last good roof," says the late Mauri Williamson, longtime Purdue administrator and expert on barns. "It's the somber responsibility of those few of us who value those remembrances and are in a position to do something about it!" Indiana Barn Foundation was
established to unite those of us who value the legacy of Hoosier farmers who have worked against the odds, often single handedly and with no financial incentive, to maintain and preserve these landmarks. We see Indiana's historic barns as being an asset to Indiana's larger cultural heritage; an asset worth preserving by assisting our farmers who struggle to maintain them.
We have established a nonprofit 501c3 mechanism to provide grants to rehab historic Indiana barns. We expect to operate efficiently under the umbrella of the Indiana Barn Foundation, while enlisting the expertise and resources of the Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Landmarks, the National Barn Alliance and many other groups who will join us in this work.
To keep this work alive for future generations, we also foresee the Indiana Barn Foundation some day financing educational programs, producing workshops and educational materials, and surveying and documenting existing barns.
The effort to save Indiana barns will need the support and dedication of many people, and we invite you get involved in this exciting undertaking! We have the opportunity today to do more than despair at the disappearance of another Hoosier landmark. Indiana barns have stood as a silent testament to the hard work and resourcefulness of those who settled this grand land of ours. We have a responsibility to care for and preserve our heritage now, and for future generations. All contributions as well as memberships are tax-deductible.