Finkbeiner Farm

Recognition Award Winner

Location: Washington
Year of Award: 2001
Original Use: Hay, Horses
Current Use: Other

Finkbeiner Farm-Connell, WA after rehabilitation.

In 2000, the centennial year of his family's farm, Galen Finkbeiner faced a problem that haunts many owners of historic barns. "We were to the place where we had to decide to either tear the barn down and build a new one, or restore it," he says.  The decision was not an easy one.  "We felt like our barn wasn't just a dilapidated building with boards missing and crackling red paint, but a true piece of history," Galen explains.  Yet the cost of rehabilitating the 42-foot high, Gothic-roofed barn was daunting. Fortunately, family members came to the rescue, setting up a "barn fund" to help with rehab expenses.  More than 70 people generously donated over a third of the costs of the project.  "This was all the motivation we needed to complete the project before our centennial farm celebration in May," says Galen.

Galen rebuilt the stairs to the haymow and removed an interior wall, using the boards to construct a tack room.  A roofing crew removed the old wood shingle roof and replaced it with green composition roofing.  They also removed an unstable chimney and repaired the cupola.  The barn was power-washed and scraped, then sprayed twice with a barn-red exterior wood stain. The project cost $25,000, $18,000 of which went to replace the massive roof.

The barn is used primarily for the grass seed portion of the Finkbeiners' 1,200-acre diversified farming operation, which also includes wheat, potatoes and seed peas.  Grass-cleaning machines and sprayers are parked in three of the old horse stalls.