Barns of Mackinac County, Michigan
135 Barns plus a few "extras"

R.V. ("Dick") Dietrich
Professor emeritus C.M.U.

St. Ignace City

SIC1. (north of Ferry Ln.; SW¼ sec.17, T.40N.-R.3W.)

            It is not known for sure when this relatively small barn was built, but at least part of it appears to date back to the 1800s.  A search made by Bambi Robinson indicates that a house and two small buildings were in this general area before 1860 -- i.e., Antoine Martin noted the presence of a "dwelling house and two other small buildings which I built ... [and] have occupied and lived [in] for many years" on this plot.  Perhaps at least the original part of this barn was one of those structures.  In any case, this property was purchased in 1904 by John A. Carlson and first owned by him and his wife from then until 1911.  The initials J.C. (his!?!) were carved into already well-worn wood beside the doorway from the henhouse part of the barn into the main barn -- see inset in the upper right photo-inset in the main photograph.

            The structure of the main part of this barn indicates that it once housed cattle, very likely milch cows, probably six or eight in number, and that their chief winter feed, hay, was kept in the overlying loft area. The top photograph of the barn -- and Yes, the door is a "Dutch" door. -- includes two insets:  Left, a view of the side of the barn that faces Ferry Lane;  Right, part of the upper level, which includes, for example, a debarked cedar post as one of its uprights, and also the already mentioned initial-bearing inset.  The bottom composite shows examples of the different kinds of materials used for the walls of the barn.  These very likely represent different periods in the history of the building.  One of the interesting features in the interior of this structure, which is not shown in this album, is an egg chart on the wall of the henhouse section;  it is dated 1936.  The metal roof, which has served to preserve this barn, was added fairly recently.

SIC2. (south of Burdette St.; SW¼ sec.17, T.40N.-R.3W.)

            This barn was unavailable for my observation from the property on which it stands.   The above is a "drive-by" photograph taken with a telephoto lens.  Some St. Ignace residents contend that it is "the oldest barn within the area."  What that means both year- and area-wise is a good question, or two.  Whatever, sit is known to have existed in the 1930s when either Charles Therrien or his father apparently kept horses in it and are recalled as having driven a horse-drawn buggy in the main business section of St. Ignace.  The identity of the present siding other than that of the front gable area where metal like that of the roof is present could not be determined for sure.  From a distance, it appears that:  the rear gable is covered with green "tar paper";  the back and sides of the main structure may be covered with a brick-patterned metal siding, the reverse side of which is exposed;  [and]  the lean-to structure on the southern end is probably  sided by asbestos shingles.  A chimney is on the back side of this adjoining lean-to.

SIC3. (north of Portage St.; SW¼ sec.7, T.40N.-R.3W.)

            This old barn is known to have existed in the 1930s because it is on an aerial photograph taken during that decade.  It is said to have been owned by Pat Rhoades and used as a horse barn. For the last several years, it has been modifed and used as a garage, for storage, and as a place to exhibit hand sleighs.



SIC4. (south of Prospect St.; NW¼ sec.18, T.40N.-R.3W.) Extra no. 18:

            This relatively small (~30 x 40 ft.) barn-like garage, although not known ever to have served as a barn or even a stable for horses, exhibits some features that barns elsewhere have but not seen during this project in this county.  This is the reason for including it here as an extra.  It was built between 1932 and 1937 and underwent several major changes in 2004:  The dutch lap on the west side, which had deteriorated, was added to match the original siding of the other sides.  The current roof, a rubber sheeting, was put on top of the original roof boards and the aluminum drip rails were added.  The new windows are in the same places that the original windows were. The vents in the gable ends were added. On the other hand, the trusses, etc. shown in the photo on the upper right are original.  

            The lower photographs show:  Left, a horizontal door, now detached, that covers an opening at floor level near the front corner by the people door shown in the upper left photograph;  the function of the space below this door is not known;  the key placed on the door is the original one for the people entrance door.  Center & right, two relatively shallow patterns, apparently "scratched" into the concrete soon after it was poured;   the middle photograph shows the "initials" C B, apparently for Carrie Bensen, the owner when the structure was built;  the lower right photograph shows a shamrock or four-leaf clover, part of which is shown near the top of the lower middle photograph.  Mrs. Bensen became the owner of the property upon which this structure was built after the death,  in 1917,  of her husband, Captain Julius Bensen;  he, who owned the property for the preceding ten years, was a boat captain and, when not sailing, tended timber interests he had within the area.