Barn of the Year

Seven barns and their owners were awarded the “Barn of the Year” designation for 2023 at the Michigan Barn Preservation Network’s  annual conference on March 4 in East Lansing. Their profiles are featured below.  

The Barn of the Year Program annually honors barns that support our ongoing mission to preserve Michigan’s agricultural heritage exemplified by its barns. The awards recognize barn owners who have made the extra effort to maintain or restore historic barns.

In the past 28 years of the award’s existence, 108 Michigan barns have been recognized for their unique qualities and/or preservation efforts. Nominations for next year’s awards will open in the fall. See bottom of page for instructions.

Visit the Barn of the Year slide show displaying pictures of the 18 nominated barns — BEFORE, DURING and AFTER their transformation.

Announcing the Winners…

Ebers Family Barn

Location: Comstock Park, MI (Kent County)

Owners: Ebers LLP

Applicant: John Ebers

Distinguishing Features: 70 x 54, gable, shingled roof, fieldstone foundation.  Very distinct cupola, hay rail & fork system

Year Built: 1883

Category: Continuing Agriculture – Family

Use: Farming, family weddings and gatherings

Pond House Farm Barn

Location: Manton, MI (Wexford County)

Owners: Jim & Theresa Williams

Distinguishing Features: Horizontal tongue & groove siding, 3 bay loft, floor joists from 8 round trees

Year Built: 1910 (store and chicken wing added later)

Category: Continuing Agriculture – Commercial

Use: Since 2003 has been a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm where produce is sold to customers who purchase a membership.

Maple Woods Farm Barn

Location: Farmington Hills, MI (Oakland County) 

Owners: Lee & Floy Barthel

Applicant: Earl Baxtresser

Distinguishing Features: Two gambrel-roofed barns connected by a gable-roof barn. Board & batten construction—all painted white with shingled roofs; Ventilators atop the two end barns.

Year Built: 1916

Category: Adaptive Use – Family

Use: Originally a dairy operation, then a headquarters for a concrete construction company, it now houses the family’s “classic car” collection, a badminton court and scale-model train layout.

Pawlusiak Barn

Location: Clinton, MI (Washtenaw County)

Owners: Robert & Lois Pawlusiak

Contractor: D & B Movers

Distinguishing Features: Italianate ornamentation, overhanging eaves, decorative corbels and tall rounded windows.

Year Built: 1885

Category: Adaptive Use – Family

Use: Horse barn converted to a cottage with bedrooms in the loft.

Murphy Barn

Location: Rochester Hills, MI (Oakland County)

Owners: Keith & Kelly Murphy

Contractor: Joe Churches of K & L Construction

Distinguishing Features: 30’ x 40’ gambrel-roofed barn built of logs and hand-hewn timber. Lean-to roof. Fieldstone applied to cement block foundation.

Year Built: 1892

Category: Adaptive Use – Family

Use: Family gathering place for celebrations and hosting events.

Barn 1888

Location: Hopkins, MI (Allegan County)

Owners: Bryan & Danielle Howarth

Distinguishing Features:  68’ x 36’ gambrel bank barn retains much of its “historic fabric,” including the original milk house, cow stanchions in the basement, silo butting up close to the barn, original hand-hewn 10” x 10” beams, original barn wood on interior, original hay trolley.

Year Built: 1888

Category: Adaptive Use – Commercial

Use: Wedding and event venue

Unruh Barn

Location: Meridian Historical Village in Okemos, MI (Ingham County)

Owner: Meridian Charter Township

Applicant: Brad Brogren, President, Friends of Historic Meridian

Distinguishing Features: 42’ x 24’ gable roof, timber frame barn moved to township historical village in 1991.

Year Built: 1870s

Category: Adaptive Use – Non-profit

Use: Museum and public event space. School children visit to learn about early farm life.

Great Michigan Barns

L to R: Garden View Barn in Byron Center, Banjolina Barn in Monroe, Serenity Barn in Iron River and Loudenslager Barn in Burr Oak

All 18 submissions for 2023 Barn of the Year have been designated “Great Michigan Barns.”


Trails End Barn, Kalkaska (Kalkaska County)

Loudenslager Barn, Burr Oak (Kent County)

*Ebers Family Barn, Comstock Park (Kent County)


*Pond House Farm Barn, Manton (Wexford County)

Burs Wagon Shed, Cheboygan (Cheboygan County)


Meadowbrook Barn, Rockford (Kent County)

*Pawlusiak Barn, Clinton (Washtenaw County)

*Maple Woods Farm Barn, Farmington Hills (Oakland)

Stout Street Barn, Grosse Ile (Wayne County)

Banjolina Barn, Monroe (Monroe County)

ADAPTIVE USE – Commercial

*Murphy Barn, Rochester Hills (Oakland)

*Barn 1888, Hopkins (Allegan County)

Hidden Vineyard, Berrien Springs (Berrien County)

The Large Barn at Frugthaven Farm, Greenville (Montcalm County)

Vale Royal Barn, Fenton (Livingston County)

Garden View, Byron Center (Kent County)

Michigan Bee Barn, Comstock Park (Kent County)

Serenity Barn, Iron River (Iron County)

*Unruh Barn, Okemos (Ingham County)

*2023 Barn of the Year

Past Awardees 

A total of 108 barns from across Michigan have been recognized for their unique qualities and/or preservation efforts since the award program began in the 1990s.

Click here for database of Barn of the Year winners from 1997 to 2016. Also see  showcase of winners from 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Here’s How to Enter Your Barn

To be eligible, the barn must be in-use, either for continued agricultural purposes or adapted for other uses. Barns must retain their overall appearance — both in their interior and exterior barn characteristics.


Award categories cover barns that continue to be used for agriculture and those that are adapted for other uses and whether the barn is family-owned or the project of a non-profit or commercial entity.

  • Continuing Agricultural Use – Family (Private), Non-Profit or Commercial
  • Adapted to Other Uses – Family (Private), Non-Profit or Commercial


Nominated barns are judged on (1) completeness of information presented in the application, (2) sensitivity and integrity of repairs or modifications, (3) visual appeal, (4) creativity, (5) thoroughness of work and (6) effort expended to repair and maintain.

Application Components:

Four items are required for the submission:

Nominations for Barn of Year are now closed. The three-month window for submitting applications will start in October 2023.

Click here for 2024 application.

Application materials may be scanned and e-mailed to: [email protected] or via a thumb drive mailed to:
MBPN Barn of Year Committee
11530 Peach Ridge Ave.
Sparta, MI 49345

For questions, contact the program chairman, Keith Anderson.  E-mail: [email protected] or Mobile: 616-540-6701.