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Restoring Hanley's historic barns

CENTRAL POINT — Long-needed restoration work at Hanley Farm will begin on three major structures early next year.

The Southern Oregon Historical Society operates the 37-acre historic farm, which dates from the 1850s. The work will be funded by grants and donations.

SOHS last week signed a contract with HamCon Builders of White City that will include work on two barns — referred to as the large barn and the old barn — and a wooden water tower.

“This work has needed to be done for a long time. It’s wonderful to have all the community support,” said Tam Moore, project coordinator. “Work hopefully will start in January. We want to have big structure work completed by May so it won’t interfere with the ongoing activities on the farm.”

A $40,000 award from the Oregon Community Foundation and a $20,000 donation from the September Roots Music Festival held at the farm last summer will supply the majority of funds for the $76,400 project. The Ben B. Cheney foundation awarded $9,000, the Carpenter Foundation put in $6,000, and the SOHS Foundation and other donors also supplied funds.

Work on the farm’s large barn will include some roofing and support of structural beams. The barn was built in 1900 by the Hartman brothers, who did a lot of construction in the area, including work for Jackson County.

“There are three beautiful cupolas up on top of it that need some maintenance work,” said Moore. The barn is a taller structure built to accommodate storage of steam-powered equipment that was coming to farms. Many pieces of early farm equipment are housed in the building.

The old barn’s center portion was built in 1854 near Hanley Road and later was moved near the creek and rebuilt as a larger structure. It is constructed with hand-hewn beams using pegs rather than nails.

Jackson County in November granted SOHS a living history museum designation that will facilitate work allowed at the farm. Any excavation on the land will be monitored by archaeologists due to the site’s historical status.

SOHS will also undertake $51,000 in electrical work at the farm. The society is using its own reserves for the effort, but HamCon will donate $2,500 of in-kind work.

“The electrical work is critical to setting the stage for the rest of the stuff,” said Moore.

Fundraising is underway for a second phase of work on five other structures, including renovation in the main farmhouse, deferred maintenance on a granary building constructed in 1934, as well as maintenance on a chicken house and a potting shed that were built with salvage lumber in 1940.

A total of $48,400 is needed for the second phase. Northwest Farm Credit Services community grant program and the SOHS Foundation have each given $1,000 to launch that campaign.

More summer activities on Sundays will be available at the farm as a result of a grant from the Jackson County Cultural Coalition. The operation moved to every-Sunday events in 2018. Farm tours on Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day include the nearly 160-year-old farmhouse.

Hanley Farm was willed to SOHS by Mary Hanley in 1982. She lived there until her death in 1986. The farm, at 1053 Hanley Road, had been in the family since 1857, when Michael and Martha Hanley purchased 636 acres. The farm is maintained to portray agriculture from pioneer times through the 1970s.

Weddings and special events can be held on the grounds. More information about the farm and donation opportunities can be found at www.sohs.org.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Hanley barn. Photo courtesy sohs.org