The Red Barn

The Red Barn © Prairie Land Heritage Museum Institute, 2014.

The Red Barn © Prairie Land Heritage Museum Institute, 2014.

The original owner of the red barn was Dr. H. Dollear, Mound Avenue, Jacksonville, IL. The builder was Harry Moore of Baylis, IL. The red barn was built in 1930 and the cost is unknown.

Originally the barn was used for raising cattle and also contained a small office. This office became a favorite after work gathering place for a number of local businessmen. Many problems were discussed and solved in the safety of the barn. The loft at this time was used to store hay and also contained bins for storing grain.

In 1952 Harold Perbix purchased the farm, along with the barn, at public auction. In 1953, he sold the barn at public auction to O.E. Freeman and Sons for $500. Later in the year, Mr. Freeman moved the barn 1.5 miles south on Massey Land and relocated it for a cost of $1,800. For thirty years, the barn was used to house cattle, grain and hay. Many cattle were fed to prime and shipped to Chicago stock yards, usually topping the market.

In 1986 Karry Freesen purchased the barn from the Freemans. In 1991 Freesen donated the barn to Prairie Land Heritage Museum.

In January 1992, Prairie Land had the new foundation built and moved the barn from the Freesen property to where it now stands at Prairie Land Heritage Museum. The ground finally froze enough on the weekend of January 18-19 so that the barn could begin its journey to the Museum grounds. The first task was to raise the 44-ton barn so cross beams could be placed underneath it. The move began at 8:30 a.m. and at 11:30 a.m. the barn was parked in the field on Lincoln Avenue. On Monday morning, the power, telephone and cable lines were dropped and the barn was on the move again. The truck pulling the barn had 142 gears so it could move very slowly. Each set of eight tires could pivot so the barn could be turned very sharply, easily making the 90 degree turn off Michigan Avenue into the Prairie Land grounds. Once on the grounds, a bulldozer was used to put the barn on its new foundation. During the days of the Steam Show, this barn is utilized to house the plow and show horses. During the rest of the year, the barn is used as a storage shed.

Contributed by Linda Berry

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