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 The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm plans to reconstruct an equipment  barn that was torn down in 1990.

The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm plans to reconstruct an equipment barn that was torn down in 1990.

Photo provided by the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm


Rochester Hills Museum receives $50,000 state grant to help rebuild equipment barn

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 4, 2020

 The museum plans to reconstruct the early  20th-8century barn in its original location along Runyon Road using exact dimensions  from the previous building that was removed in 1990.

The museum plans to reconstruct the early 20th-8century barn in its original location along Runyon Road using exact dimensions from the previous building that was removed in 1990.

Photo provided by the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

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ROCHESTER HILLS — The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm will begin rebuilding a historical equipment barn on the property this summer with help from a state grant.

The museum received a $50,000 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs to support the rebuilding of the equipment barn on the museum site.

Original to the Van Hoosen Farm site, the equipment barn was standing on the property — but not in good shape — when the city acquired it in 1989, Museum Manager Pat McKay explained.

The equipment barn — which provided support for the Van Hoosen Farm operation by storing milk trucks and farm supplies — was built in the early 1900s and deteriorated to a point where it had to be removed in 1990.

The museum plans to reconstruct the early 20th-century barn in its original location along Runyon Road using exact dimensions from the previous building that was removed in 1990. McKay said construction will begin this summer and will be completed in early 2021.

“Our goal has always been — because this is a nationally recognized historic site — to re-create the buildings and their arrangements and location and sizes exactly the way it was, because of the national significance of this farm,” he said.

The new building will be used to store program support items for museum operations on the upper level and will allow historical farm equipment that is currently sitting outside to be housed indoors on the lower level, which McKay said will be open to the public.

“We have lots of equipment that we’d like to put on display. Some of the equipment sits outside right now, so this will give us a chance to display some equipment on the lower level,” said McKay. “We use two of our smallest buildings right now — that are on the national register — for storage. By rebuilding this equipment barn, we’ll be able to remove all the items in storage and open those barns to the public.”

The bull barn, where the bulls were stored, is currently used for storage and is closed to the public.

“The bulls were the most valuable animals on the whole farm … so it’s important for us to get that open,” McKay said.

The other building, the milk house, was used to keep the milk cool before it was shipped to market, and McKay said a lot of the water systems ran through it.

“All the equipment is still inside the buildings, and we want to show it off a little bit. Both of these buildings allow us to talk about science and technology and engineering and math, so we’re going to talk a little bit about science on the Van Hoosen Farm, having some more buildings open to the public,” he said.

City officials anticipate that it will cost approximately $650,000 to rebuild the three-story, 2,000-square-foot barn, which is slated to begin this June and to wrap up before the end of the year.

“We won’t know exactly until the bids go out and come back in, but at this point, that’s what we’re hoping for,” McKay said. “Right now, we’re about $30,000 short, so we’re still working on it.”

McKay said the museum is hoping to leverage the funds by combining the project with another — putting a new roof on the dairy barn, which he said should be completed around March 2021.

“By combining the two projects, we think we can get a better price,” he said.

The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features the stories, people and events that officials say have made the community an exceptional place to call home for 200 years.

“Our city is committed to preserving and celebrating our past as much as we are excited about our future. This building will help us tell the story of our community and the incredible Van Hoosen women that shaped our past,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said in a statement.

The 16-acre museum complex — located on a historical farm at 1005 Van Hoosen Road in Rochester Hills — welcomes over 60,000 guests per year and provides local history exhibits, and educational and cultural programming. The museum’s archives include a collection of local history artifacts and archival papers.

For more information, visit www.rochesterhills.org/museum.

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