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Published January 04, 2010, 12:00 AM

Pipestone barn named Barn of the Year

Total restoration of barn pays off in competition
PIPESTONE — David and Marlyce Logan of rural Pipestone recently earned the grand prize in the Friends of Minnesota Barns Barn of the Year competition. Their barn received top honors in the farm use division.

By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe

PIPESTONE — David and Marlyce Logan of rural Pipestone recently earned the grand prize in the Friends of Minnesota Barns Barn of the Year competition. Their barn received top honors in the farm use division.

The non-farm use Barn of the Year award went to Carl and Wanda Erickson’s rural Hawley barn, while runners-up in the second annual contest were barns owned by LeRoy Grewe of Gaylord, Mike and Jean Kauffmann of Arlington, Gary and Marjory Becker of Marshall and Ruth Miller of Buffalo. In all, 61 barns from 36 counties across the state competed for the top honors.

The Logans have owned their barn and rural Pipestone farm since December 2007, purchasing it from Jack and Nadine Sturdevant, who had called the place home since 1968. In June 2008, the couple began a total restoration of the barn, removing all of the exterior tin and wood, the asphalt shingles and the wood casement windows. The Barn Doctors of rural Fulda were hired to complete the monumental project.

“The barn, when we bought the place, had just regular asphalt shingles and it had been sided with tin in later years,” David said. “As many barns do, the siding gets kind of rotten and gets holes in it.

“It was still a sturdy barn, it wasn’t dilapidated,” he added. “It certainly needed some attention.”

The Logans had also noticed a bit of shifting in the building, so they had the barn straightened prior to the restoration work. Once that was completed, they brought in all new boards for the siding, vinyl casement windows and wood shingles.

“Everything is pretty much restored to its original state,” Logan said.

When the Logans purchased the farm, they had no intention of tearing the barn down and building new. In fact, Marlyce had made a promise to the Sturdevant family that she would take care of the barn.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” said David. “It’s such a neat old barn and there aren’t many of them around anymore.”

“We wanted to keep it just the way it was,” added Marlyce. “I worked for Sturdevants years ago and every time I went by here, I admired it. I just wanted to get it back to the way it was. It deserved better than just letting it get older and not take care of it.”

The barn was actually the second one built on the farm. The first, constructed in the early 1900s, was destroyed by fire in February 1931. When the barn was rebuilt, it stood on the same foundation and was expanded slightly.

There had been a story about the fire in the Pipestone County Star back in 1931, said David. The paper included a picture of the original structure, which the Logans used as a guide during the restoration of the barn.

“It looks pretty much like what the first barn looked like,” said David, adding that they even brought back the star that had graced the haymow for so many years.

“The Andersons were involved with North Star Insurance so they put this star on the barn,” David said. “It became kind of a landmark — people would use it (as reference) for directions.”

Aside from the star, other unique features of the barn include the original cupolas and small glass balls on the lightning rods, and an extremely large haymow.

“The haymow is just gigantic,” David said. “Even people who grow up on a farm come in and say, ‘Wow.’ I don’t know why anyone would have built one that big.”

According to one story he’d heard, 17,000 square bales were put up in the haymow one summer, and still it hardly made a dent in the amount of available space.

Today, the Logans use the barn primarily for their horses. The main level features three horse stalls and sliding doors that access an outside corral.

They also raise cattle, which are moved to another farm over the winter, and have used the barn in the past for sheep production. They also store hay in the upstairs.

During the process of restoring the barn, the Logans did some research and discovered the Friends of Minnesota Barns non-profit organization. They became members because of the information they could access.

“I think that they work they have done and are doing and hopefully will continue to do is certainly worthwhile,” David said. “Regardless of whether you win a plaque or don’t … it’s something that brings the attention to people in rural communities the importance of preserving these grand old buildings. They deserve better than just being left to go on their own for however long they can.

“It’s good for rural America to realize there’s a heritage here and we have a responsibility to preserve it,” he added.

The Logans’ barn, along with the other winner and runners-up are featured in the 2010 Friends of Minnesota Barns calendar. The Pipestone barn is the July pin-up. Calendars are available through the Friends of Minnesota Barns Web site at www.friendsofminnesotabarns.org.

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