I wear this T-shirt and folks–especially preservationists–go “Ooo! Where did you GET that?!” When I was at the Savannah PastForward conference, I stopped by the booth for the National Barn Alliance and saw it there. It had to go home with me!
I’m from Washington, D.C., born and raised. What in the heck does a city gal like me know or care about barns? Well…growing up my grandparents had a little cottage in Eagle Harbor, Maryland. On the trip down to it from D.C., we’d wind through rural roads with–guess what–tobacco barns!! I found them fascinating and loved seeing the tobacco leaves hanging in them as we passed.
Historic barns have many threats such as a shrinking number of farms, young people not going into farming, and changes in farming practices causing their obsolescence. Barns are also affected by neglect, maintenance costs, and cities encroaching on rural areas via development. Barns are a tangible, visible representation of our country’s rural heritage. I’d say that’s worth preserving if we can! There’s hope though, especially through the sustainable agriculture/farm movement. For more info about preserving barns, you can check out the Alliance’s site and the National Trust also has a great slideshow and publication about why preserving barns is important.
Want to know more about those tobacco barns and other historic Maryland barns? Check out the video!
If you liked that, you can watch the entire documentary on the MPT site!