Each year, Indiana Landmarks's Rural Preservation Council honors Hoosiers who show exemplary stewardship of historic agricultural landmarks. Gary and Margie Byerly won the John Arnold Rural Preservation Award, recognizing care and use of their Owen County farm.
Few of us have memories of life on a farm. Far fewer work on farms. That’s a big change, especially in traditionally agricultural states like Indiana. A century ago, about one American in three earned a livelihood producing livestock and crops. Now less than one percent do.
The nation’s historic barns and other aging farm buildings no longer serve the needs of modern mega-farms. Lapsing into disuse, old farm buildings have been demolished to create more tillable land, or to make room for modern structures that more efficiently serve today’s agriculture factories. Still more farm buildings have fallen to the rising demands of an ever-growing population and urban expansion in formerly rural areas.
The escalating challenge of saving historic rural structures requires creativity in adapting buildings, both for continued agricultural use and for completely new purposes.
John Arnold Rural Preservation Award
To recognize stewardship of historic farm buildings, Indiana Landmarks' Rural Preservation Council presents the John Arnold Rural Preservation Award.
The award memorializes a Rush County farmer tragically killed in a 1991 farm accident. John Arnold, son of Indiana Landmarks’ Rural Preservation Council member Eleanor Arnold, combined progressive agricultural practices with a deep respect for the natural and historic features of rural Indiana. Indiana Landmarks presents the award bearing his name to recognize farmers for the preservation and continued practical use of historic farm buildings.
Download the 2012 Arnold Award nomination form
The Rural Preservation Council also sponsors Barn Again workshops, which present practical solutions for maintaining and adapting old barns for today’s needs. The workshops cover the history and structural technology of barns as well as financial incentives for restoration. Most importantly, barn rehabilitation experts share their experiences and offer assistance with sources for know-how, labor, and materials.
For more information on the work of the Rural Preservation Council, contact Tommy Kleckner in our Western Regional Office.
We've collected a variety of online and print resources where you can learn more about historic barns and rural preservation.