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. At that time around 20,000 wood barns still stood, compared with 30,000 a decade previously and only a tenth as many as dotted our Hoosier landscape a century ago. Today that number has dwindled even further and the number of barns lost increases every year.
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," said 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.
Since the initial founding in 2013, the organization has made progress. We received nonprofit 501(c)3 status in 2015 which allows the organization to fund raise, provide grants to rehab historic Indiana barns, and more. Additionally, we enlist 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. Each year we hold our Forum and Annual Meeting and conduct a barn tour, with both events held in different locations throughout the state.
To keep this work alive for future generations, the Indiana Barn Foundation is also working on financing educational programs, producing workshops and educational materials, and surveying and documenting existing barns. Each year the list of efforts toward increasing awareness and appreciation of saving Indiana's barns grows.
The effort to save Indiana barns needs 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 over and above memberships are tax-deductible.