SPOKANE -- They are symbols of our agricultural roots, but old barns are often forgotten until they eventually fall down.
People who want to help preserve these pieces of the past on their own property can get some help through state-allocated grants, but they must add their barn to Washington’s Heritage Barn Register first.
On Thursday night, anyone interested in the program can attend a free meeting at the Spokane City Council Chambers at City Hall from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation will walk through the process of registering a barn.
Nona Hengen registered her century-old, striped barn just outside of Spangle on the Palouse. Hengen’s grandparents bought the barn with the land in 1912 from the people who homesteaded it.
Hengen’s parents had a small dairy out of the barn in the 1930s, back when she recalls milk was just 10 cents a quart. To this day, she still keeps hay and chickens in the barn.
“I played in it as a child; it has my pioneer roots,” Hengen said. “My grandparents farmed here and had cattle in the barn when farming was done by horses. It’s a part of our heritage. It’s a part of the legacy that we leave to the people who come after us.”
Over time, the barn shifted off its rock foundation, so Hengen applied to add her barn to the Heritage Barn Register. A few years later, she applied for and received a grant to pay for the work to help preserve the barn: new beams, a new roof, and shifting the entire structure back onto its foundation.
The deadline to nominate a barn for the Heritage Barn Register is Oct. 1 followed by an Oct. 28 deadline to apply for the next round of grants to rehabilitate those barns.