Historic Barn Gets Second Life at Camp Discovery
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. (March 30, 2017) – Thanks to funding received by the Richland County Conservation Commission, Camp Discovery is pleased to announce that restoration work on a 150+ year old barn located on the property will begin in late April. For over a century, the Corn Crib at Camp Discovery has served as a weathered sentinel of a bygone era of agricultural outbuildings in Richland County.
Built in the mid-1800’s, the historic corn crib is a wonderful example of an early outbuilding, or barn, used on small farms during the period. In its prime, the corn crib was used to store corn or other crops grown on the farm. Up until the 1950s, most farmers harvested corn by hand and stored it in well-ventilated outbuildings called “cribs”. With advancements in technology, the corn crib became obsolete, causing the once common structure to disappear from rural landscapes. Few remain standing today, either having been disassembled or decayed.
The barn is located in Blythewood on a former homestead rich in history just off one of the original dirt roads between Columbia and Camden. The farmhouse that once stood there served as a stage coach waypoint for passengers, and the front door of that farmhouse is now preserved and displayed at the Blythewood Historical Society in the Langford-Nord House.
Camp Discovery Executive Director, Joanna Weitzel, believes that old buildings like the corn crib are worth saving. Weitzel says, “Old barns have a story to tell. Preserving those stories, and the structures linked to them, is important to remembering Blythewood’s history and our ties to the land.”
The preservation of the barn paves the way for the introduction of a new experiential learning program at Camp Discovery, drawing visitors back to a time when growing and harvesting food was a part of everyday life. School groups and others guests can discover what farm life may have been like during the 1800’s.
But before that can happen, there is work to be done. The 12’ by 20’ barn must be dismantled which involves removing the tin roof, existing siding and beams, and floor joists. Deteriorated wood will be replaced with reclaimed materials before the barn is reconstructed.
Weitzel says it’s a big project. Fortunately, preservation consultant and project engineer at Clemson University, Rick Owens, has experience in restoring historic buildings. Rick is helping Camp Discovery by directing the restoration effort. But to complete the project over two weekends, Camp Discovery is asking the community for help. Volunteers are needed in late April/early May to pull nails, move wood and catalog materials. Donations of old wooden siding and antique farm tools and supplies are also needed.
If you would like to assist with the Corn Crib project, or have materials to donate, please contact Joanna Weitzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 803-754-2008.