Meeting planned for round barn


A agency funded by the county’s innkeeper’s tax has planned a meeting to discuss ideas and proposals that could potentially save a historic round barn.

The Jackson County Visitor Center has scheduled a meeting for 6 p.m. Monday at the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour.

The meeting will allow participants to brainstorm ideas to create a project plan for the Smith-Hall Round Barn in Medora.

The plan can include suggestions for fundraising, volunteering and more, said Arann Banks, executive director of the visitor center.

Banks said she received multiple phone calls with ideas and concerns about the barn after The Tribune published an article about how its fate remained uncertain after its condition worsened.

Over the past 18 months, weathering has taken a toll on the barn, forcing its roof to collapse and leaving the inside of the barn exposed to the elements.

As the condition has worsened, Banks said the need to act quickly has become imminent if people want to the barn saved.

"This is an immediate project," she said.

The biggest problem is finding a way to fund the repairs. Banks said she has not received a quote for restoration for less than $400,000.

"For that reason, we need to have a conversation," she said. "We have people interested in the barn, but the cost that’s involved makes it difficult."

While there were once four round barns in Jackson County, just the Smith-Hall Round Barn and Stuckwish Round Barn in Vallonia still stand.

The Smith-Hill Barn was built in 1910 by J.L. Geyer for Howard M. Smith.

George Hall, who has owned that barn since 1964, said damage to the roof led to bigger problems.

He has been in contact with both county officials and Indiana Landmarks and Historic Preservation to take the barn, built by his grandfather with the help of 12 other men in 1920, off of his hands.

Since the barn is privately owned, the options for public funding make it difficult.

Banks said people enjoy seeing the historical barns because fewer are being reported each year with just 37 remaining in southern Indiana.

"It’s something that people like to see and visit our county for," she said. "The round barns complement our countryside and our history in agriculture."

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What: Meeting to brainstorm ideas to save the Smith-Hall Round Barn

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Where: Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour

Who: Open to the public


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