Last week we told you about a historic cordwood barn on Old Garden River Road, which is the subject of a fundraiser aimed at saving it.
This week, we're going to tell you a bit about its history.
The building, known simply as The Barn, is located in Old Garden River Road and has been standing since 1948. In the past 72 years, it has deteriorated significantly. And due to its cordwood walling – which is rare in Sault Ste. Marie – it has proved difficult and costly to maintain.
Paula Cypas Antunes and Pedro Antunes, daughter and son-in-law of current owners, are collecting funds to pay for repairs.
The Barn was built by Thessalon, Ont. natives Bert Seabrook and Bazil Bailey.
“They came up here and started it as a dairy farm,” said Carol Klym.
Klym is the niece of Bailey, who was the main builder of The Barn; and the sister of Seabrook, who helped construct it.
A passion for carpentry and design runs in the family.
“Our grandfather was a stonemason,” she said. This helps explain The Barn’s unique design. “He [also] made potato boxes.”
The Barn stands out for its base, made of horizontal logs held together by mortar. This cordwood design traces its origins to Scandinavia and can be found (sporadically) in Ontario and Quebec.
Although the farm now hosts horses and a donkey, that was not always its role.
The Bailey family “came up here and started it as a dairy farm,” said Klym. In 1971, they opted to return home to Thessalon and sold The Barn to Peter and Marilyn Cypas. The husband and wife then transitioned into beef cattle farming, then to what it is today.
Klym was young when the title deed was exchanged and has few memories of the building.
“I had one meal in the house. I was about eight years old when I was there. And don’t remember much about it.”
Now that The Barn is owned by the new family, Klym only sees it while driving by.
“I stopped there one time to get a picture. As I was getting my camera, the donkey went into The Barn,” she recalls.
Klym is not the only one who makes a point to take pictures of the building. It is also a hotspot for professional and amateur photographers alike.“Parents with young children often say, smiling … ‘We just had to come for a walk to the barn today!’” said Paula Antunes.