Historic barn gets a facelift

Several generations will be linked together when Tom Dull’s family and volunteers restore an old barn this April. Restoration of the barn, dating back to the 1800s, wouldn’t be possible if not for the Internet.

The Dulls’ barn was one of 10 nominated for restoration in the Campbell Soup Co.’s Help Grow Your Soup program. The campaign involved cooperation between Campbell Soup Co. and both the National FFA and National FFA Alumni Association.

More than 17,000 Facebook fans heard stories from barn owners via the Internet. Some 375,000 votes were cast for the 10 nominated barns. Only the top five vote-getters received help for restoration.

The Dulls’ barn near Thorntown wound up fourth. An intense restoration project is planned for April 15, 16 and 18, Dull notes.

Key Points

• Tom and Kerry Dull’s barn is one of five picked nationwide for restoration.

• Both national and local FFA groups participate in the project.

• The facelift will preserve the barn and give the entire farm a new “front door.”


FFA support

The Clinton Prairie and Western Boone FFA chapters are part of the project. Chapter members and parents will help during the restoration.

A steering committee guides the project. Members include Lucy Whitehead, a Hoosier native, representing the National FFA Alumni; Patrick Padgett, Clinton Prairie FFA adviser; Don Haberlin, Western Boone FFA adviser; Jake Marty of Marty Builders; and Tom and Kerry Dull.

It’s truly a community effort with a national flair, Dull notes. “Campbell Soup Co. will provide some funding for materials; Valspar Co. will donate paint; and FFA members, alumni and community volunteers will provide the labor,” Dull says.

In addition, Campbell Soup Co. has donated $500,000 to FFA so far to promote educational programs through this effort. This is the second set of five barns restored through Help Grow Your Own Soup, which began in 2008.

The renovation of the 42-by-72-foot, pin-frame barn will include building some new doors, re-hanging all doors, repairing and replacing siding, making minor repairs to the frame, installing a stairway and railings to the haymow, applying three coats of paint in red with white trim, and landscaping the area outside the barn. Previously, Dull put on a new roof. The stone foundation was repaired and tuck-pointed. Dull also replaced the haymow floor last summer.

Worth restoring

The barn holds memories for Dull, from building straw tunnels and swinging on the hay rope as a youngster to helping fill the mow as a teenager. “Dad was a Pioneer seed dealer, and the ground floor was the warehouse,” Dull recalls. “We unloaded and stacked semiloads of seed one bag at a time.

“We use the barn in our Christmas tree operation today,” Dull explains. “It’s the first thing people see as they come around the bend in the road. We’re giving it the facelift it needs to make a better first impression.”

Once it’s restored, Dull hopes the barn will be an inviting, enjoyable place for families to visit during the Christmas holiday season each year.

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READY TO RESTORE: A crew of volunteers guided by experienced carpenters will soon finish the restoration Tom Dull started on this wood-frame barn two years ago.

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COMPLETE WITH LEAN-TOS: Cattle once sought shelter in a lean-to on one side of the barn. Tom and Kerry Dull’s children raised 4-H animals in the opposite lean-to.

This article published in the March, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.