Dave Hamblin applauds at left as FOB Vice President John Troth presents Roger and Jan Cox with the FOB award for stewardship in their work and commitment to conserving their barn.

Photos by Alberta Stojkovic | AIM Media Midwest

By Alberta Stojkovic

For the Sentinel

Dave Hamblin saw his dream of many years come true as more than 100 members of Friends of Ohio Barns (FOB) loaded onto two buses to tour barns in Morrow County.

The 22nd annual FOB Barn Tour from April 27-29 included three days of barn tours.

Visitors saw history come alive as FOB founder Rudy Christian and FOB members shared their knowledge of barn building and how changes in agriculture and technology affected how barns were constructed.

The pre-tour event was Thursday at the Herb and Bobbi Sample’s potato storage barn. The event featured “barn bragging,” a round-robin discussion of members’ barns with shared photos.

The Friday tour showcased six barns in Morrow County, beginning with the Lanker barn on state Rout 314 with brothers Brad and Ryan Lanker. The Lanker Farm received the FOB Award for Agriculture Use this year.

Greg and Mary Beth Watterson then hosted the group at their farm on County Road 97. Their barn has beech timbers throughout and hand-forged nails are still in the threshing floor.

The morning portion of the tour finished at Roger and Jan Cox’s Plainview Stock Farm on County Road 109. The barn on their property was built in 1884.

Christian said their barn was newer than several on the tour. It was “built for modern farming” with a hay track and 20-foot walls that allowed more hay to be stored. In contrast, some other barns on the tour were built with 14-foot walls for “pitch fork hay.”

After enjoying lunch at Trinity United Methodist Church in Mount Gilead, the tour resumed at John Shade’s barn on state Route 61, north of Mount Gilead.

Shade had little knowledge of the barn’s history beyond when he purchased the farm in 1950 and knowing an addition was built in the mid 1940s.

Christian and FOB members pointed to the 60-foot beams and estimated the main part of the original barn was of pre-Civil War construction in the 1830s to 1840s. That was the era before steam-driven saw mills. Later, the steam-driven mills and portable steam engines took over circular sawing and could work twice as fast.

Favorite lumber for early barns was the plentiful chestnut and white oak trees, and later beech, elm and hickory.

The tour went on to the farm of Joel and Marcella Garverick, which is recognized as an Ohio Century Barn.

Randy and Cindy Heidlebaugh’s barn concluded the Friday portion of the tour. The barn was originally a “ground” barn and was moved and raised to set on a basement foundation.

The annual tour concluded with a Saturday luncheon and program at Flying Horse Farms (FHF) in the “Big Red Barn.” The barn at FHF was recognized by the FOB with the award for “Adaptive Reuse.”

The barn was moved to FHF from Tim and Mary Weiler’s farm in Harmony Township. It is now used as a central gathering place and dining hall for the Flying Horse Farms, the camp where seriously-ill children can come to heal, grow, thrive, and enjoy a camping experience.

In planning the barn tour and events, Hamblin said he and his wife, JoAnne, drove all over the county for several days looking at barns. They also got a list from Morrow County Historical Society member Phylis Miller for some suggested barns.

The Hamblins have had a special interest in barns since 2008. Dave Hamblin has been a board member of FOB for three terms and coordinates the fall FOB event. They have toured barns in 20 counties around Ohio and have converted an old one-room school house into service as a barn on their property south of Williamsport.

More information about Friends of Ohio Barns can be found at www.friendsofohiobarns.org.

Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for The Morrow County Sentinel.