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This English ground barn is a rarity for this part of Hancock County. Influenced by the New England settlers who once owned the property, the barn was built with a center truss system to provide a center drive bay. Decorative louvers and windows accentuate the exterior. Superior craftsmanship is exhibited in its detailing, both inside and out. Built in the 1850s, it was retrofitted to accommodate a hay track sometime in the early 20th century, and extensive steps were taken to preserve the barn in the 1960s.


  • April 1960
  • April 1960
  • September 1960
  • September 1979

 

James Clason settled this property in 1830. In 1873, he deeded the farm to his relatives, Sanford and Edith (Clason) Smith, who already owned land across the road at the site of the Wingate-Haas barn, featured on this year’s tour. The property then passed to Edith’s nephew, Joseph W. Clason and his wife, Sarah. Joseph Clason owned 113 acres of farmland and was considered to be a very successful farmer. Joseph and Sarah had two children—a son who died as a child, and a daughter, Lilly, who became the next owner. Lilly sold the property to Purley (Hoy) Cole, and she deeded the property to her daughter, Beatrice Musgrave, in 1939. Beatrice and Ralph Musgrave raised their family here and owned the farm until is was deeded to their daughter, Pat, and her husband, Roger Howard, in 1990. 

 

This English ground barn has several unique features that make it something of an outlier in this township, and even within the larger county. The barn was built with a center truss system, which allowed it to be constructed without a center bay or center posting. This created a drive bay that would allow the wagon to be brought in one set of doors and out the other, without having to turn the team around or back up. Many louvers and small windows added decorative detail that also functioned to provide light and ventilation. The barn exhibits superior craftsmanship, with many details that were strictly aesthetic, including double bracing, king post struts, and rounded edges on the ties that protrude through the headers to the exterior of the barn.

 

The barn is built primarily with hand-hewn timber, with the exception of the smallest braces. It likely dates to the 1850s-60s, and before the invention or widespread use of the metal hay track. The existing hay track would have been added later, and the original straining ties were cut out to make way for this new technology. While this practice was common, it weakened the structure of many barns. Fortunately, the owners of this barn had the foresight to take several steps to preserve it.

 

In the 1960s, Pat’s parents had the barn lifted and laid a new foundation. New ties were put in where the originals had been cut out, and additional bracing and metal supports were added. A new roof was added in the 1980s, and tin siding was put over portions of the exterior. The original wood siding and wood shake roof can been seen from the interior.

 

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019

Hancock Historical Museum, Barn Tour Collection, 2019