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Michigan barn gets new home - for second time
Michigan Correspondent

MASON, Mich. — For the second time in its long history, a Michigan barn will be moved.

The first time the barn was moved was in 1929. That first move located the 100-ton building across M-36 from the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason. For the past couple of decades, Greg Shaw has been renting this barn as a headquarters for his appliance business.

Recent construction plans by Anderson Builders were heading toward removing the barn - to be replaced on the property by new housing. The owners of Anderson Builders are grandsons to Art Jewett, who once owned a great deal of property around Mason.

Jewett Airport honors the memory of Jewett, who was a pilot, farmer, undertaker, community planner and businessman. Current programs are interwoven with those early land-planning acquisitions by Jewett.

To tear down the barn would have cost $25,000. When Shaw thought about finding a new location for his business, he was open to a creative approach. When Anderson Builders offered to sell him the barn for a dollar, Shaw jumped at the offer.

He bought some property a mile east of the barn, and is getting everything in order for the new location.

There is something about moving a barn that attracts people. As Dailey Movers from Hart, Mich. prepared the building for the move, folks stopped to watch, remember, and to share personal experiences relating to the barn.

There was a time some 30 years ago when the barn was the location for the play Oklahoma, which was produced in the barn by a local theater group.

Shaw wasn’t certain just what this move would eventually cost, but those who study such things estimate that $150,000 for the land and moving of the facility to the new location was reasonable.

“This is a good deal in many ways,” Shaw said, looking on the bright side. “I don’t have to move the pool table, the pictures, and even my cat is riding to the new location in the barn where he is already comfortable.”

As of this writing, the move has not been completed. The barn is mounted on a whole flock of big wheels and tires, and it is awaiting the land to dry before the next step is taken.

Instead of taking the 72-foot building down the highway, they are taking it through a farm field next to the road.

There are some things that people do not try to hurry. Moving a building is one of them.

Many local folks are pleased with the idea of moving the barn rather than taking it down.

Jack Worthington with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network was on-site taking photographs and sharing thoughts and ideas with those enjoying the barn happening. It was a nice time for everyone. It will be even nicer for Shaw and his cat when the building reaches the new location in a day or two.

This farm news was published in the June 14, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.