Barnyard Bulletins

Barn tour postponed to 2022: Focus on Anchor, Cropsey

With heavy heart, the Barn Keepers Board of Directors has decided to postpone our annual Barn Tour until 2022.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, barn owners remain somewhat reluctant to open their places to hundreds of visitors.

We understand and respect these concerns.

As such, we are redoubling our efforts for the fall 2022 Barn Tour, which will be centered in the eastern McLean County townships of Anchor and Cropsey.

Anchor Township formed from Cropsey in 1877. Cropsey reportedly had 25 families living there in 1860.

It was named for Col. A.J. Cropsey, who owned a large farm in the area

Barn Keepers Programs Continue with Jahnke, Kemp

DeLoss Jahnke
DeLoss Jahnke

In addition to the popular Barn Tour, Barn Keepers plays host several times a year to dynamic farm and farm-related programming.  

On May 13, Barn Keepers welcomed, via Zoom, DeLoss Jahnke, reporter and on-air personality for the Illinois Farm Bureau-RFD Radio Network. In his one-hour talk, DeLoss reflected on his heritage, coming as he does from a five-generation crop and livestock farm. He also shared his perspectives on the role of agriculture journalism today.

At the end of the talk, Zoom attendees had plenty of questions. The Barn Keepers are appreciative to DeLoss for taking time from his busy schedule to serve as our guest speaker.  

And on February 11, Bill Kemp, the Barn Keepers very own Board of Directors president, delivered an illustrated Zoom lecture, “McLean County Barns in the Late-19th Century.” Bill’s program was recorded, so you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.  

We hope to return to in-person programs for our next membership meeting, which will be held Thursday, September 9. Stay tuned for details!  

David Davis barn preservation efforts gain recognition

Barn Keepers heartily congratulates the David Davis Mansion Foundation for its ongoing effort to restore and preserve the circa 1856 barn / stable on the grounds of the Davis Mansion State Historic Site.

The Victorian mansion, built in the 1870s, is known as Clover Lawn. It was the home to David Davis, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and longtime friend of Abraham Lincoln.

Behind the mansion, which is located at 1000 Monroe Drive, in Bloomington, stands the barn, which the foundation aims to save.

The City of Bloomington’s Historic Preservation Commission recognized this work with a 2020 Heritage Award.

Barn Keepers has supported—and will continue to support—the preservation of this historic barn.

Need assistance restoring a barn? This group offers ideas

Here at Barn Keepers, we get asked this vital question all the time.

Unfortunately, we’re a small not-for-profit that emphasizes barn education in McLean County. We simply do not have the technical or financical resources to support a grant program or similar efforts.

And there is precious little assistance when it comes to the government — be it federal, state or local levels. A federal tax credit is available for owners of barns which are on the National Register of Historic Places, but few barns are eligible for such designation. 

That said, there is some help out there. The National Barn Alliance has some suggestions as to what to do and where to go. To visit that website, click here.  

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