The Garling barn may soon have a new home at the Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District.

The Garling barn may soon have a new home at the Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District.

Photo by Frank Ferriolo

Oakland Township approves location for Garling barn at Cranberry Lake Park

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 14, 2024


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A new barn may soon make its way to the Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District.

The Oakland Township Historic District Commission is working to relocate the historic Garling barn from Clarkston Road to the 16-acre historic district, located at 388 Predmore Road, which is joined to the 213-acre Cranberry Lake Park.

“Iit will be nice to save another barn in Oakland Township,” Township Historic Preservation Planner Barbara Barber said. “Cranberry Lake Farm did lose five barns, so this is an opportunity to bring one of them back.”

The 32-by-70-foot barn was donated to the township by Oaktown LLC, which owns the land it currently sits on.

The Oakland Township Board of Trustees recently unanimously approved the relocation of the Garling barn to just west of the Cranberry Lake Park parking lot, with the understanding that a Historic District Study Committee needs to be appointed to review the historic district boundary to include the barn into the Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District. The motion was also pending approval of the Parks and Recreation Commission, which had a meeting after press time.

“I like this new location. I think it’s clever and smart,” said Township Supervisor Robin Buxar.

Barber said the barn was originally scheduled to be relocated to an area behind the henhouse, but is now planned to be moved to just west of the parking lot.

“It’s easier for the construction site. It’s just more accessible, even for trucks to pull in,” said Barber.

The Historic District Commission had also talked about dismantling the barn, moving it, rebuilding it and then refinishing it, but is now hoping to try to keep it intact to save money.

“We found out we could save a substantial amount of money if we can move it intact by removing the roof,” Barber noted, stating that she thinks it may save upwards of $100,000. “We’re lifting it off the foundation and putting it on a new foundation, and then we put a new roof on — that is a big project savings.”

However, she is still working out the details to see if the township can avoid a complete dismantle — a call that will ultimately be made by the Road Commission for Oakland County.

The overall project will likely cost anywhere between $250,000 and $400,000, and Barber said officials are hoping to get the barn moved in late summer or early fall.

“We have to bid it out and get hard numbers,” she explained. “ Whatever we can get from private donations and grants, or volunteers to help finish the interior space, we will also be looking for all that to help keep the cost down.”

The Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and township officials said it reflects the social history of agricultural farming operations transitioning into a country retreat after World War I. The Garling family owned the property for close to 100 years.

The district currently has the 26-by-34-foot Flumerfelt barn and a 25-by-80-foot shed-roof henhouse. Just north of the henhouse was a barn lost in the late 1980s, which previously housed horses and chickens and may have been used for seed production.

“The Garling barn is double the size of the barn we currently have there — the Flumerfelt barn — and it doesn’t have any interior posts or beams, so it’s wide open … which is excellent to utilize the space (for events and programs). And, it’s part of the township’s history, going back to the Garling family, who farmed it for almost 100 years,” Barber said. “It will be nice to save another barn in Oakland Township. Cranberry Lake Farm did lose five barns, so this is an opportunity to bring one of them back.”

For more information or to donate to the project, call Oakland Township Parks and Recreation at (248) 651-7810 or email