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1870's Barn To Be Moved
The Oakland Township Historical Society (OTHS)

The Oakland Township Historical Society (OTHS) is working with Silverman Development – Steve Robinson to dismantle and move an 1870’s gable-roof barn to Oakland Township Cranberry Lake Farm at 384 – 388 West Predmore Road.   Silverman Development is ready to develop the 233 acre old Kern Tree Nursery at 3700 W. Gunn Road, the site of an 1870 dairy farm with Greek Revival home and 3 remaining barns.

Oakland Township Historical Society has just competed a survey and documentation of the township’s remaining barns over 50 years old as part of the Michigan Farm and Barn Survey conducted by MSU Museum in Lansing.  During the two-year intensive survey the township lost three old barns to development.  The Society became concerned about losing more and has voiced this concern at Township Planning Commission meetings with developer projects on the agenda.   Developers in turn, have started working with OTHS to plan how to save more buildings important to our local heritage.   ‘Maybe there are more ways now to incorporate more buildings into new developments to help preserve that 'country’ atmosphere new residents want”, says Carolyn Dulin, OTHS president.  “Especially when the buildings are authentic, have unique construction and have stood over 100 years.”

In this case, Silverman Development used the OTHS opportunity to donate the barn and help prepare to dismantle and move it to a township - owned  farmstead park that once had a barn the same size and age.   OTHS has hired Michigan barn wright Steve Stier to direct the project which begins March 19 onsite.    OTHS volunteers with work under the direction of Steve Stier to dismantle the barn over the weekend and move the parts to a temporary location.  Reconstruction at the new site will happen after a new foundation is laid and better weather arrives.

The red gable roof barn has been well preserved with a shingle roof and original timber framing inside.  Timbers are  connected with mortise and tenon joints held with wooden pegs.  The huge timbers look to be hand hewn.   An inscription inside the barn helps date it to 1879.  The barn wall is signed by a member of the Flumerfelt family who owned land in both Oakland and Avon Townships (Rochester and Rochester Hills) and farmed here for over 100 years.

OTHS has jumped forward with a fundraising program to cover the costs of professionals needed to dismantle, move and restore the barn at the new location.   Silverman Development was the first major donor along with 100 per cent of the OTHS board.    Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission and the Historic District Commission also allocated funding for this project.    More donations continue to arrive from OTHS members and over 20 volunteers have prepared to sign liability waivers to help on the dismantling the weekend of March 19 –20 –and 21.    ‘It just got rolling and with our new barn survey knowledge, we know we are saving an important part of our history here in the township, says Mary Tischler, OTHS board member. 

For more information please contact Mary Tischler at 248-656-3774 or Carolyn Dulin at 248-651-8715 or at claygro@juno.com.