Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Fort Klock Dedicates Dutch Barn

St. JOHNSV1LLE - The young must be encouraged to respect the past if we are to preserve history for the future, according to one of the principal rebuilders of a colonial era Dutch barn at the Fort Klock Historic Restoration.

"Pieces of property like this belong to all of us, today and in the future." said Willis Barshied Jr. at the July 4 dedication culminating the restoration of the 250-year-old Dutch barn at the historic site.

The dedication culminated a three-year project to move the barn to the Fort Klock site from an adjacent farm and restore it to original condition.

In order to preserve such pieces of the past, Barshied said, the young have got to be "encouraged and trained" to appreciate the value of such things as the barn and other other buildings on the Fort Klock site.

Barshied, a founding organizer of the historical group, said effort should not be wasted worrying about what the future will make of the things being preserved today. Instead, he said, energy must be concentrated on preserving what we can and teaching the young so they will have the opportunity to continue the preservation of the past.

"Otherwise", he warned, "you've got nothing," and today's efforts at preservation are only a temporary "holding act."

Fort Klock Restoration member Paul Flanders praised Barshied and contractor John Thackery for their key roles in restoring the barn.

"People like this are so committed," Flanders said, "that monetary gain, if it's there, becomes secondary." He said the pair belonged to an ancient line of master craftsmen who are "unique among builders in their longer vision for preservation."

The 35-by-40-foot barn, with its low walls and steep, single-gabled roof, is typical of Dutch barns built throughout this area from the begining of the 18th century through the mid 1820s, Flanders said.

The style, developed and used by the early Dutch and German inhabitants of the region, was designed for an agricultural economy based on cash crops of grains such as wheat, rye, Canadian field peas, oats and other grains, said Flanders.

When the regional economy shifted to dairy farming in the first half of the 19th century, many of the original Dutch barns were rebuilt to accomodate cows. The Fort Klock barn itself was raised and extended, he said, but only the original section dating to mid-1700s was rebuilt on the site.

The barn has a solid foundation and a strong roof, Barshied said, and is expected to stay in good shape for a number of years.

Eugene Wagner, president of Fort Klock Historic Restoration, dedicated the barn in the honor and memory of the historic group's founders. The ceremony, he said, was held to "honor all those who had tne foresight to preserve and protect Fort Klock."

"We're not doing it it for us, were doing it for our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren," said Wagner.

This article appeared in a local paper during 1990. The barn was erected earlier, but dedicated July 4, 1990. I regret the person donating the article did not save the information about which paper carried the above story. ajberry

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