Sunday, November 25, 2018


Our travels to central and upstate New York and Vermont was interesting at every turn on every road, mostly by the old barn architecture and scenic rolling farmlands.

An estimated 30,000 barns once stood in the vast Genesee which, at the time of settlement, stretched from Seneca Lake west to the Niagara River.  Genesee is an old Seneca word meaning "pleasant valley".  In the 1830s and 1840s this part of America was known as "the breadbasket to the nation."  A book was written by author Daniel Fink, Barns of the Genesee Country, 1790-1915, which describes the farm structures that were a part of this important agricultural region.

Interestingly enough, there has been a nationwide effort to preserve historic farm structures called "BARN AGAIN!" introduced to encourage the preservation of agricultural buildings which is sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Successful Farming magazine.  Visit their website at BARN-AGAIN.

To qualify for the programs the barns must be at least 50 years old.  The objective is not only to repair and return the barns to agricultural use, but also preserve the heritage of working farms for residents as well as tourists.

The barn rehabilitation program offers guidelines which state that the rehab work must not "materially alter historic appearance".  Many owners who fail to win grants from the Barn Restoration program may still quality for a tax break which may be as much as a 25% tax credit for rehabilitation of historic structures.

After traveling through much of the agricultural areas of the central and northern New York areas as well as throughout much of Vermont, we can't imagine what hardships the farmers must have endured.  There is a saying, "The only person who works harder than a farmer is the farmer's wife", and we believe this may be true!
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