Work on the 1914 (big) barn begins

It has been a while since I have posted and I apologize for the lapse.  It has been busy, but a good busy.  To bring you up to speed, last year, Representative Nash helped get us an earmark from the State’s Legacy fund.  This means that we did not have to write a grant, but will receive funds for the Peterson project. The grant paperwork will still need to be completed, but it is not a competitive grant. The Minnesota Historical Society holds the funds until we use them.  In total $80,000 was earmarked from the State’s Legacy budget last year and this.  In total, $160,000.  The funds can be used for rehabilitation on any of the farm buildings.

We have a total of five buildings yet to be rehabilitated, the granary, the south barn, the house, the smoke house and the 1914 (big) barn. The Historic Structures Report, completed in December of 2017,  noted that the 1914 barn was outside of the Period of Significance for Andrew Peterson.  The barn is on the same site as an earlier barn and uses many of the timbers from that earlier barn, but was built 16 years after Peterson died.  Why this is so important is because future Legacy money cannot be used on the 1914 barn, but the money received through the earmark is.  After much discussion, the CCHS board decided that we wanted to save the 1914 barn and use it for an interpretive center and public use space. It came down to either tearing down the 1914 barn and building a new interpretive center or saving the building and using it for the center.  It was decided that saving it would allow us the best chance at preserving the atmosphere of the farm and was the best use of resources. Keep in mind, that the money we had from the earmark could be used on the 1914 barn, but future Legacy monies could not.  If we wanted to save the building this was the best chance we had at doing so.  By working on the 1914 barn now, we also will be able to use the building to create a revenue stream that will help rehabilitate the other buildings.

Because we had to get the permissions from SHPO, and complete the competitive bidding process, it has taken us a year to begin work on the building. But, we are finally starting work.  Miller Dunwiddie is the firm that will be doing the construction drawings and overseeing work by Hansen HomeTech and Patrick Sieben.  HomeTech will do the rehabilitation construction work and Patrick the stone masonry work.  Following the recommendations of the Historic Structures Report, the first step is to clean out the 1914 barn, south barn and granary, then spray for powder post beetles.

Power post beetles eat little holes into old wood, leaving the wood very weak and ultimately will cause the building to collapse. The do not harm wood cut today, for some reason.  All the buildings at the farm are affected. The spray works by coating the outer part of the wood and penetrates to a small degree into the wood.  When the beetle leaves the hole, it comes in contact with the spray and dies.

Tomorrow morning, I will be at the farm overseeing the moving of the carriages Ward left us, from the middle barn to the north barn.  Work will be done over the next two weeks to clean out the 1914 barn, south barn, and granary.  After that is done, they will spray all three buildings for powder post beetles.  Miller Dunwiddie will then begin work on construction investigation and drawings which are expected to be done early fall.  Once the drawings are reviewed and approved by SHPO, Hansen HomeTech and Patrick take over.  The process will stabilize the building for future reuse. Phase two for the 1914 barn will be the redesign as an interpretive center and public event space.


Two final things, Corvus North has been hired to help with the capitol fundraising.  Over the next 2 months we will be conducting a feasibility study which should tell us how much we can expect to raise. Some of you may get a letter asking for permission for an interview.  Please consider participating. The amount determined that we can raise, will be given to the Jeffris Foundation.  Right now, our focus of the capitol fundraising will be to raise money to rehabilitate the house, and hopefully the granary and south barn. The smoke house will be getting a new roof this summer, and once permission is received from SHPO will get new paint on the trim as well.

Second, with the help of St. John’s intern Dan Rhodes, we are putting together a business plan for the farm.  It is a massive document, but will be a road map for the next 10 years.  It will be done mid August.

We are moving forward, and with your help we will continue to do so.   Thank you everyone for your continued support and interest in the farm.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *