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Historic barns topic of Nouvella Club speaker

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Spring fix-up Clarence Roosendaal of the Sunnyside Parks Department replaces a board on the back of a bench seat on the gazebo in Upland Park in Sunnyside earlier this week. Roosendaal also repaired any missing and broken supports that help strengthen the structure.

Yesterday, Jerri Honeyford was the guest speaker at Sunnyside's monthly Nouvella Club meeting, and she shared with those gathered a book published last year by the Washington State Heritage Barn Register.

The book provides photographs and addresses of historic barns registered with the register throughout the state. Also included is the variety of barns, architecturally, built in the state.

"I am sad to say there aren't any Sunnyside barns," said Honeyford.

She explained the register was developed after she and her husband, Sen. Jim Honeyford, took a trip to Bickleton. She noticed an old barn there that she was saddened to see was falling down.

That got Honeyford thinking about the historic significance of many barns she has seen throughout the years.

She and the senator discussed the fact that many old barns have disappeared throughout the years, and an idea emerged.

The pair attended a historic preservation meeting and talked with others about the significance of preserving the state's historic barns. They talked about finding funding to help preserve Washington's historic landmarks.

"We had to be very careful," Honeyford said of approaching legislators about possible funding.

The legislature, she said, examined the needs and established the Heritage Barn Register. It was established with criteria, including the need to have an explanation of the history of the barn to be registered.

A grant fund was established as a result of the legislators' efforts to get the registry started, as well.

"Only two people in the legislature voted against the registry," said Honeyford.

Heritage Barns of Washington State, the register's book, was published last year and the last copies, said Honeyford, were handed out at yesterday's meeting.

She provided those attending the meeting a brief overview of the book, including stories about some of the barns included in the registry.

Some of those barns were nearly lost because they were in disrepair. There were some owners who were awarded grants to restore the barns and others were restored as a result of the owners recognizing they could afford the repairs themselves.

One barn in Benge was nearly lost because of wind, but neighbors rallied to help its owner lift it from the ground, setting it upright once again.

The state's oldest barn, said Honeyford, is not in the registry. She said she would love to have it included, but the owner has been reticent about registering it.

She said that barn is located south of Olympia and was constructed from 60-foot logs cut from trees native to the location.

The barn was built in the 1830s.

After telling a few more stories about barns included in Heritage Barns of Washington State, Honeyford said, "I could tell you lots more stories."

She had those attending the Nouvella Club meeting turn to pages in the book that do provide some history regarding barns that were restored with grant funding. She told the attendees there are two hop kilns in Yakima County that have been preserved because of the funds.

One of those kilns, the Herke Hop Kiln, is located along I-82 near Parker and still has inside it much of the old equipment used for processing hops.

Grandview's Marple Barn is pictured on the cover of the book, but its history is not provided in the book. Honeyford said it is a nationally registered barn.

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