Harvey Barn in 2012
BEFORE: Harvey Barn as seen in 2012.

Harvey Barn and Schoolhouse offer glimpse into the past

This Old Barn: Life and education of the 1800s come alive at the Harvey Barn and One-Room Schoolhouse.

In 2012 I was invited to view a barn in Crawford County. As I drove up to the property I observed a timber-frame English threshing barn. It looked in good condition for an old barn. It stood plumb and square. Although I knew we would find some problems in a barn of this age, the severity of which would depend on the kind of care it had received over the years. 

OPENING DAY: The Harvey Barn restored and sparkling like a gem in the sun on Grand Opening Day.

The owner came out and we started at the huge barn doors, working our way through and around the barn while discussing problems and proper repairs. The 35-foot-by-50-foot barn sits on stone piers and has board and baton siding on three sides. The roof has its original wooden shingles overlaid with metal standing seam roofing. The threshing floor in the driveway is splined so the grain would not fall through the cracks during threshing and winnowing.

As we went along, Randy began to tell the story of the Harvey family. In the early years of the 1800s, the Harveys pioneered their way into Ohio to an area that was to become Crawford County. They purchased land from the Wyandot Native American tribe living on the nearby Wyandot reservation.

I was surprised and pleased to learn Randy and Diane actually had plans for the historic, circa 1890, barn. The quaint, three-bay English threshing barn was destined to be a “living barn museum” for school children and families to experience a day in the country.

SCHOOL DECAY: Condition of Harvey School as it appeared in 2002.

In 2018, I was invited back to view the barn once again. True to their word, after five years of planning and hard work, the newly restored Harvey Barn, crowned with two copulas atop the gable roof, had its grand opening in April of this year.

Sparkling like a red and white gem in the sun, the barn stands adjacent to a one-room brick schoolhouse also on Harvey land. Both were part of the original Harvey Family Farm. Included in the Harvey’s plans for farming the land was a desire for a schoolhouse to educate the children of the area. At first it was a log house built in 1835.

In 1876, it was replaced by the red brick schoolhouse seen today. The little brick school closed in 1918 and fell into disrepair. In 2003, restoration was started and completed in 2007. With authentic period furnishings, complete with potbellied stove, it is a true “living one-room schoolhouse museum,” and offers classroom reenactments demonstrating how classes were taught in the late 1800s. It is on the Nation Register of Historic Places.

AS IT WAS: The Harvey One-room Schoolhouse at the April 2018 event.

The Harvey Barn and Harvey One-room Schoolhouse are open twice a year in the spring and fall. It can be seen at other times by appointment. For more information go to harveyoneroomschool.com.

Searching for barns
I continue to search out and identify five of the oldest, historically significant, and/or most unique barns in each of the 88 counties in Ohio. If you know of any barns with these qualifiers, especially if they are in danger of being lost, please contact Pam Gray, at [email protected] or call 740-263-1369.

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