Wednesday, June 06, 2007
The thing that always astounds me when viewing a barn collapse is how inconsequential the materials appear, lying in a heap. The flattened lumber belies the huge volumes of space that the boards enclosed.
The Teeple barn was built circa 1885 and to view the interior was to marvel at the workmanship that was accomplished without benefit of power machinery. It was designed with huge proportions - 85 foot diameter and 85 feet tall. The balloon frame construction resulted in a veritable agricultural cathedral.
The barn was unusual and important enough to have been photographed by National Geographic. It was also certified as an official project of Save America's Treasures, a public/private partnership between the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and immortalized in the book of the same name.
After a bid for millions of dollars to relocated the barn was turned down efforts were focused to do what could be done to stabilize the barn. Unfortunately, the task was huge, almost impossible without huge investments.
Serious problems developed and when the wind storm blew up on May 24th family member Lori Teeple, great-granddaughter of its builder Lester Teeple drove over to find that the barn had begun to split open. What a tremendously sad moment that must have been. Returning on Friday morning she was met with a scene of total devastation. The beautiful cupola was turned upside down, lying on top of the heap.
To give you a good idea of the scale of this barn, here's a photo of Teeple family members standing next to the west facing side of the barn.
You can order the book Saving America's Treasures for as little as 12 cents at Amazon.com. Go here to check it out:
Saving America's Treasures
Here's another photo of the Teeple family.