Group discusses barn restoration

VIENNA -Many historic barns throughout the state have been restored and transformed into homes, community centers and businesses.

John and Sarah Woodall and Gary Clower, all of Vienna and with the Friends of Ohio Barns, spoke recently to more than 25 people at the Vienna Historical Society about the many barns in the state, including those in Trumbull County, and how they have been restored.

The Friends is a statewide group that works to preserve old barns from demolition.

The Woodalls and Clower presented a slideshow showing many of the early styles of barns.

John Woodall said the early barns had a unique construction style to them and noted that one barn in Upper Arlington has been changed into a community center and is now used for weddings and other events while maintaining its original style.

“If you put a good roof and siding on barns, they will last a long time,” Woodall said.

Members noted there is a historic barn of the Ulp family off Warren Sharon Road near Warner Road in Brookfield, while another was located at the former Trumbull County Fairgrounds at Warren G. Harding High School. That barn was used by the Civil War Sixth Ohio Volunteer Calvary.

The state’s barns are highlighted annually during the Ohio Barn Conference that has been held in past years in Trumbull County. The event includes a bus tour of the many barns along with presentations.

The Friends group, which was formed in 2001, sometimes salvages wood, timbers and other features from the structures; other times the entire barn is taken down and moved elsewhere.

The Friends group was formed in 2001 to promote awareness of the significance of the state’s barns. The group’s newsletter and the annual conference help keep members and interested individuals informed about better ways to conserve and maintain barns.

The conference has traveled to different parts of the state each year, and has included tours of the more magnificent structures, plus lectures by historians, tradespeople and experts in barn preservation.

Clower said he wants use the timbers from old barns he has acquired to construct a new home in Vienna.

President Christine Novicky reported that Ray and Carly O’Neil donated materials they found in their attic, which included a Vienna High School commencement program and and an insert with the graduates’ names and class motto.

There were nine students in the class of 1923 and their names are contained on the announcement.

Carly O’Neil said they live in the house of Ethel Swager, who is listed as a graduating student in the insert.

The society was also informed that a woman from Hanoverton was at an auction in Leetonia and bought a box of books, one of which was a Vienna High School Class of 1957 yearbook, and that she plans to donate it to the society.

Next meeting is 7 p.m. Nov. 26 for the annual state of the membership.

For information about the group, visit