Barns of Mackinac County, Michigan
R.V. ("Dick") Dietrich
Charlie Brown, an attorney in St. Ignace, drove me to view and photograph three of the barns in and near St. Ignace and supplied data about them. Prentiss M. ("Moey") Brown, Jr., also an attorney in St. Ignace, served as a valuable source of historical information about the area in and around St. Ignace. Mary Hill, and others at the Historical Museum of the Les Cheneaux Historical Association in Cedarville and Linnea Ault and others of the Engadine Hisotircal Society Museum in Engadine gave me information and also the names of people from whom I could get additional information about the barns in their areas.
David Ginsburg, Research Librarian Emeritus, Central Michigan University aided me by making searches for literature dealing with barns, especially those in Michigan, that contains information that might otherwise have escaped my early barn-related observations within the county. He also checked the References given at the end of this album to make sure that each is in a form that will facilitate readers that may want also to review those publications. Gina Kemp, Director, and Barbara Zimmerman, Assistant Director, of the St. Ignace Public Library, obtained several publications via interlibrary loan. Gina also supplied one important, rather rare booklet from her personal library. Vera Wiltse, 4-H Youth Agent, Michigan State University Extension (ret.), was ever ready and willing to give professional advice.
Kurt and Rick read and critiqued the complete report. Linnea Ault similarly checked the Garfield Township captions, this Preface and Introduction.
The following people supplied information about one or more the the barns included: Donald Ault, Linda Belonga, Gary Bigelow, Judy Bishop, Ed Brockman, Barbara Brown, Elmer & Ruth Brown, Frank Butkovich, Carilon Hopperstead Carr, Curtis Cheesman, Dan & Amy Christensen, Betty Clark, Chuck Collip, Nancy & Joe Cornwell, Peter Crystal, Debra Dailey, Frank Daily, Raymond & Ruth Derusha, Amelia Duberville, Carol Duncan, Andy Dunikowski, Bob Edwards, Verna Engel, Vern Erskine, Alice Feigel, Dee Fenske, Ervin Flatt, Wayne Flatt, Ethel Freeman, Fred Freeman, Nancy Fulton, Roger & Tamara Gady, George & Irene Gage, Gerry Glenn, Violet ("Marie") Gorman, Dale Greenwald, Jack Gribbell, James & Faye Gribbell, Clinton & Barbara Groover, Chandler Hadley, Herbert Hahn, Julia Halonen, Carol Hamel, Michelle Hanson, Gary Heckman, Gayle Herron, Anthony Hines, Jeffery Hoag, Robert Holland, Dick Huskey, Rosemary Irwin, Conrad Izzard, Roger Kempf, William Ketola, Mark Kinjorski, Mike & Rae Klobucher, Teri Kniss, Martin Kopinski, Caryn Kovar, Wayne & Georgianna Kuebler, Alan & Charles Lamoreaux, Clarlyn Ledy, Judy Legault, Sharon Legault, Marian Lesatz, Bob Lindley, Louise Lowetz, Kirt Mahar, Charlie and Louis Markstrom, John Matchinski, Jessica Maze, Kathy McCabe, Jennifer McGraw, Jonathan Miller, Leighton Miller, Levi Miller, Richard Miller, Tate Miller, Wendell Miller, Russel Morris, Kathy Mullholland, Russ Nelson, Tim Nelson, Mike Newton, Kellie Nightlinger, Charles & Kathy Nye, James & Cully Ocko, Ed Olson, Gunnar Olson, Bill Orr, John Ozanich, Herman Patzer, Ray & Carol Patterson, Wes Peckta, Richard Pershinske, Jon Plomer, Peter Polisse, Peter & Sallee Poole, Freda Price, Karen Reed, Bambi Robinson, Ervin Rose, Jim Rourke, Betty Sadler, Sue Salter, Herb Sawyer, Esther Schaum, Edward Schmitt, Violet Schroeder, Elsie Sellers, Martin Sherlund, Rudy Sherlund, Harold Shoemaker, Edward Simon,Sharon Smith, Wayne Steiner, Harry Stephenson, Fred & Marilyn Strickland, Chriss Stutzman, Gladys Tamlyn, Mary Kay Tamlyn, Susan Thomas, Jerry & Kim Thompson, Charlie Vallier, Mark Vonderwerth, Jim Vosper, William Wagner, Craig Weatherby, Jake Weiss, Rick Weiss, Paul Williams, Angela & Jeff Wollos, Ken & Debbie Zellar, Melissa Zellar, and Todd Zellar.
I gratefully thank each of the listed people for her/his contributions.
R.V. ("Dick") Dietrich
24 November 2011
With exceptions, ... See last paragraph of this introduction.
Barns within Mackinac County, Michigan in 2011 are shown in photographs in this album. The photographs show the general features and conditions of these barns at this time. That is to say, these photographs comprise an historical document; this is emphasized by the fact that three barns in Marquette Township alone have undergone noteworthy changes within this year one has burned down; one has been torn down; one has had its exterior rejuvenated. The captions for the photographs give the barns’ locations and provide brief information about them. Most of that information was supplied by people within the area – i.e., most of the history provided in the captions is oral history.
Almost all of the included barns were built fifty or more years ago. A few of them date back to the1800s. Nearly all of these barns were the largest and some of them the oldest buildings on the farms where they were built. Hand-hewn timber and rough-sawn lumber, both from trees in nearby woods are characteristic. With a few exceptions, these barns were used to store the feed, especially hay, for the dairy cows that were milked within them and housed there during cold winters. In addition, several of the barns also included areas for young cattle, the resident bull, stalls for workhorses, and areas where farm machinery was stored when it was not in use. One particularly noteworthy fact about the barns of this county is that many of them were never painted.
Each of the photographs shows the general condition of the barns, which ranges from good to bad in 2011. Many of these photographs are “drive-by” shots that were taken from or near highways and county roads. Nearly all of those shown are cropped to show the features of the barns better than the complete photographs do. The original photos are included on CDs that will be available at one or more of the following locations: Engadine Historical Museum, Les Cheneaux Historical Museum at Cedarville, St. Ignace Public Library, and the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. Some of these original photographs have, in my opinion, more aesthetic appeal than the cropped versions. In any case, no attempt has been made to have all of the main photographs or even the individual photographs of composites at the same scale. Trees, artifacts, etc. that are included in the photographs serve to give a general idea of the sizes. Composites, which show certain features relating to a few of the barns, are included beneath a few of the main photographs.
The first line of the captions consists of: 1) Two or three letters, which indicate the township or "city" within the county where the structure is located; the "Sketch map..." in the Appendix serves as the key. 2) An identification number, which correlates with the one on the list in the appendix; [and] 3) the location according to Section, Township and Range on the U.S. Public Land Survey Grid (see Mozola, 1989). Most captions also include information about such things as the dates of construction, original owners, and past and present uses. This information is, for the most part, based on statements and recollections of people with whom I talked, either directly or by telephone -- i.e., it is "oral history." Unfortunately, only a few people are still living who know directly much about the history of most of these barns and other buildings. This accounts for the unevenness of both the amount and the context of the captions. Additional pertinent information can, I feel sure, be found about nearly all of the structures with more “spade work.” Certainly such information, or at least clues, could be found by studying old maps, sale documents, estate plans, newspapers, and such documents that I did NOT search. Perhaps someone will undertake this research. Although I do not vouch for the correctness of the statements given, I do take responsibility for recording them; whatever their verity, perhaps they will help lead to additional data gathering about these structures and the history of the areas involved. A few of the captions include information that is probably best described as indicating certain nostalgic experiences I had while working on this project; I hope these do not detract from the other information.
It seems likely that additional barns occur within the county – buildings that did not look like barns to me AND barns not readily visible from the public roads and highways. This seems especially likely because my coverage of some of the county was during the summer when the trees and brush were covered with leaves and thus obscured my view. Also, I did not go into drives through wooded areas that were roped off or were marked “No Trespassing” or by some similar caution to would-be uninvited encroachers. -- Indeed, after this paragraph was written, my attention was directed to the presence of the old barn, Ga61; the two photographs that are included for that barn were taken by and credited to the lady who owns and told me about the barn.
The "extras" include photos of a homesteader’s log house, the bare foundation of a former barn, barns that no longer exist, a few relatively recently built barns, and even a small barn-like garage with some especially interesting features. These are included in this album because of my predilections. Their captions will, I hope, indicate why each is included.
Lastly, it seems only prudent to add that exceptions to some of the above statements are present. Two examples are the first photograph in the collection, which shows a barn in Bois Blanc Township that has not existed for several years and the building shown as the Hudson Township representative is not a barn and it was built in 1997. Each exception, however, is indicated by information given in its caption.