Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Have a Barn in Need of Repair? HBFF has a Grant Opportunity for You!

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Do you have a barn or agricultural outbuilding that is 50 years or older in need of repairs? Does it retain a significant degree of historic character and materials? Then the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania (HBFF) has a grant opportunity for you!

This year marks the inauguration of HBFF’s matching grant program to encourage the maintenance and repair of historic barns and outbuildings throughout Pennsylvania as one way to promote and support the preservation of Pennsylvania’s rural heritage.

About HBFF

Established in the late 2000s, the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational resources for the long-term preservation, protection, and documentation of historic barns in Pennsylvania and the agricultural heritage of the commonwealth.

Group of four people standing next to each other in a line.
PA SHPO’s April Frantz (second from right) with HBFF board members Michael Cuba (left), Chair Priscilla deLeon (second from left), and Jeffery Marshall (right).

Grant Program Background

In January 2020, PA SHPO entered into a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with PennDOT and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to resolve adverse effects resulting from the proposed I-81 New Interchange (Exit 12) Project in Guilford Township, Franklin County. PennDOT and FHWA consulted with PA SHPO and other consulting parties under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106), which requires federal agencies to take into account the impact of their actions on historic and archaeological resources in the project area.

As part of the Section 106 consultation, PennDOT determined that the new I-81 interchange project would result in an adverse effect to the Archibald Rankin Farm because the new roadway would be located on a  portion of farmland historically associated with the property. The Archibald Rankin Farm (1993RE00072) is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for Agriculture.

Large multi-story white barn surrounded by fields.
Archibald Rankin Farm barn complex. Photograph by Douglas Dinsmore, June 2016.

PennDOT consulted with PA SHPO and other consulting parties to identify measures to minimize and resolve the adverse effects. This mitigation involved the development of a statewide barn preservation grant program administered and operated by HBFF. 

The Grant Program

HBFF’s matching grant program is to assist barn owners in the retention and preservation of this rich agrarian building heritage. Whether a barn needs a great amount of work, such as a new roof or foundation, or simply needs minor repair work, such as painting or roof patching, the intent of this matching grant program is to assist in preserving historic barns of various types, sizes, and conditions throughout the commonwealth.

Matching grant awards of up to $2,500 will be distributed as a reimbursement after the project is completed in accordance with the agreed upon plan and renovation standards. HBFF expects to announce the first round of grant recipients in March 2023.

Who’s Eligible

To be eligible for the matching grants, buildings must be at least 50 years old, have originally served an agricultural use, and retain a significant degree of historic character and materials. Barn owners must be a current Pennsylvania resident and a current HBFF member.

Preference will be given to barns that are visible from a public right-of-way, with the initial round of grant awards focusing on limited-scope water infiltration repairs (i.e. new roof, foundation repairs, etc.).

Read the HBFF Barn Grant Guidelines for more information.

How to Apply

Download the HBFF Barn Grant Application and submit all requested information including:

  • barn information,
  • map of barn location,
  • description of proposed project,
  • project timeline and project readiness,
  • how the project promotes the long-term use of the barn,
  • photographs,
  • detailed cost estimate by a licensed contractor, and
  • barn survey form.

Deadline

The deadline for this matching grant program is December 1, 2022.

You can read more about this exciting new program on the HBFF website at http://pahistoricbarns.org/barn-grant-program/.

Author: Emma Diehl

Emma Diehl is a historic structures reviewer for the PHMC-BHP. She is responsible for reviewing project documents submitted in compliance with Section 106 and the State History Code for the Eastern region of Pennsylvania. A native of Adams County, PA, she holds a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Penn State University.

2 Comments

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  1. Susan Moon says:

    Super idea for a grant program. PAs Agricultural heritage is rapidly fading. This program will help slow that trend. Thank you to all involved!

  2. Stephen Wiedemer says:

    Hi Barn Enthusiasts,
    We have a “Bank Barn” located in Chapman Township, Hyner, PA. The barn (built in the 1800’s) used to have a slate roof, but now it is metal. It was painted in the early 1990’s by my dad. The overall condition is very good, but it is in need of a fresh coat of exterior paint and maybe a painting/coating on the metal roofing too. Wood bees have been boring into the timbers on the front awning/overhang, so it could use some type of sealer to prevent any structural damage.
    If I have my family do the repairs, is this eligible for any funding reimbursement?
    Thank you!
    Steve

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