Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barn Preserving

Thanks to a family in Fowlerville area, an old building with a colorful history has been put to good use.

But let me backtrack a bit. A couple of years ago, a grand plan was devised to level an area of the northwest quadrant where the now-defunct Fowlerville Lumber showroom and storage building stood along with an out-of-service water tower at the back of the property where years earlier an apple orchard had grown. A multi-business building and at least a hundred parking spots would be created in this void. But, alas, the national economy and in particular Michigan's situation took a very bad turn for the worse, and the project was put on hold.

This was after the water tower had been dismantled, the old buildings removed, and the initial ground work and first layer of paving had been completed. What stands there now is a very nice looking parking lot and an area of land for sale.

I pretty much thought that was the end of the story until the other day. That was when I found out the lumberyard's storage building, as shown in this picture, had been dismantled (not destroyed) and moved parts and parcels to a local farm to begin its third career. This time it would provide cover from the weather while equipment was being serviced. Now you may ask . . . third career? Yes. Its second career found lumber stored, stacked, and ready for the customer, but according to local lore and verified in the book Fowlerville Goes to War 1861-1865 compiled by Richard G. Hutchins, its first career was as a roller rink. But now onto today in Fowlerville. This 60' x 100' building was sectioned, loaded onto large flatbeds and trucks, and moved to the Krebsview Farm on Fowlerville Road. This picture shows the new bay doorways which have been created and how the outside has been finished . . . . . . . while this picture shows the original rafters and wallframes. As you can see in this wider shot, the building has been placed on a sturdy foundation. The only deviation from the original size and shape of the building is one corner where the walls had to be reconfigured due to land constraints. This building is still in the midst of some major work, including covering up the old siding and installing new, more efficient windows, but the vision at the end of the tunnel is already in sight.

In a society where we don't always value the older buildings, sometimes cost and efficiency winning out, it is gratifying to see this little bit of Fowlerville history still standing. So now from the laughter and fun of roller skating to the smell of fresh, new wood stacked from dirt floor to ceiling to a shelter for those working on equipment . . . this building has been given a third career.

1 comment:

Cindy Finnamore said...

What a great article! I also only knew that building as part of the lumber yard. It's great to know that it's being put to a new use.