Mills Farm

Recognition Award Winner

Location: Ohio
Year of Award: 2004
Original Use: Dairy, Hay
Current Use: Equipment Storage, Hay, Other

Mills Farm-Lower Salem, OH after rehabilitation.

Restoring barns is old hat to Jim Mills.  He is being recognized for his fourth rehabilitation.  This century-old barn was in dire need of foundation work and siding repair when he inherited it in 1996.  It had endured years of unpredictable storms, oscillating Midwest temperatures and farm usage. 

A noticeable buckle of one barn wall signified major problems.  In 2001 he was faced with deciding the fate of this old structure.  For Mills, the decision was easy.  He appreciates that these historic barns are disappearing from Ohio's rural landscape at an alarming rate.  And besides, "The timbers are priceless," Mills said.

As a veteran of barn rehabilitation and with the help of his contractor, Jim went ahead with straightening the end walls and rebuilding the floor joists and sills.  He then turned his attention to a decision on wood choices for flooring and siding.  After first considering hemlock, yellow-poplar and oak, an idea popped into his head, "why not pine?"  He had planted a stand of white pine in 1953 or 1954 during a spring break from college on his Harrison County farm ninety miles away.  The decision to utilize his own trees was reinforced once he discovered that a terrible March windstorm broke tops out of a number of his 50 year old white pines.  Six thousand board feet later, the barn works on stores hay and equipment and hosts its share of farm and forestry clinics for his 80 head cow/calf operation.