It's something we all see as we're driving through the more rural areas of Michigan: old barns usually in a state of disrepair.
Personally, I've never given much thought to the history behind those old barns. However, there's a group of people in SW Michigan that are not only giving thoughts to those old barns but, restoring them as well.
Recently featured by Second Wave Southwest Michigan, Barn Believers is a group dedicated to fixing up dilapidated barns for public use and educational purposes.
Who is Restoring These Barns?
As you might expect, the answer is those who are passionate about restoring and preserving otherwise lost barns are generally people that grew up on farms. Specifically, the Barn Believers.
The Barn Believers was formed in 2017 as a community project fund to save barns across Michigan. Now, the Barn Believers has grown with an ability to award grants to qualifying 501c3 non-profits. The grants are only awarded within the state of Michigan and there are no contractors or builders recommended (to keep things fair and transparent).
Qualifying projects include those that are preserving historic barns and their related collectibles and those that may be relocating a barn for non-profit use. See more here.
If you can believe it, there are several articles about the restoration of barns in Michigan by Jan Arnett that you can find at farmprogress.com.
One thing is for sure, even if you have no care for old barns or what happens to them, restoring them to their former glory does not look easy. But, watching time-lapses of them being fixed up is, for some reason, very satisfying. Check it out:
Speaking of old barns, check out this barn converted into a very...let's call it groovy Airbnb: