Northern Indiana Barn Toursby Amy Wenger on September 16, 2014
The rural landscape of northern Indiana is a perfect, picturesque backdrop for some of the state's oldest and most artfully designed barns.
Now, history and farming enthusiasts alike can have an opportunity to see some of the finest examples of this stately craftsmanship. On Saturday, September 17, the Indiana Barn Foundation will be sponsoring a self-guided tour to view ten vintage barns throughout Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties. The driving adventure will cover a span of 51 miles and will feature scenery of more than 100 barns.
The tour will be held between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the highlights will include an Elkhart County Centennial Farm in Nappanee that dates back to 1859, a barn in Goshen that was laid with a stone foundation and features wooden louvered vents, and a round barn that has been preserved and restored by legendary barn builder Amos Schwartz. All ten of the barns that are open for this tour were constructed prior to 1930 and were selected for inclusion because of their variety in style and function.
Travelers will purchase maps with driving instructions, which allows them to begin their adventure at any point along the tour route and commute at their own pace. Some of the locations include 22689 CR 36 in Goshen, 71346 SR 19, Nappanee; and 1985 Douglas Road of Bremen.
The route will wind through panoramic farmlands and countryside, dotted with numerous barns, which are sadly becoming a lost representation of an era from the past, according to tour organizer Carolyn Rahe. "We have lost thousands of barns over the past 10 years; some estimate 10,000 over the past decade." Indiana Barn Foundation was launched in 2013 with the goal to support barn owners in their efforts to maintain and enhance their historic treasures.
The barn tour is also sponsored by the Farm Bureau agencies in Marshall, Elkhart, and St. Joseph counties. Maps and driving instructions are $8 in advance, $10 on the day of the tour, and free to any guests ages 12 and under. To become familiar with the travel itinerary beforehand, visit www.indianabarns.org on and after September 19 to learn which barns will be included. Locations can also be revealed by calling(574) 342-3812 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.