Pittsfield Township Historical Society :: Update on Sutherland-Wilson Barn Restoration Work
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Sutherland-Wilson Barn floorboards show cutmarkes made by a steam-powered sawmill.

 

 

Caption: Week of 20 November 2008: The first layer of boards have abeen removed from the middle barn floor. The sub floor, which is revealed here, shows the saw cuts by a steam engine tractor. When the belt would slip the saw cut became uneven. Click image to enlarge.

 

 

The dirt ramp to Sutherland-Wilson Barn being reinstalled.

 

Caption: Week of 10 October 2005: The dirt ramp is being reinstalled along the font of Sutherland-Wilson Barn. Note the protective barrier -- partially visible to the left of the ramp. It protects the newly restored stone wall from moisture in the dirt ramp. Also note the repairs underway to the barn siding. Click image to enlarge.

 

Note: 15 September 2005 represents an important milestone in the restoration of Sutherland-Wilson barn. That date marks completion of foundation and sill replacement work, which was funded in part by a State and Local Historical Societies Grant (see 22 April 2005 - below). The photos of 18 September 2005 document work accomplished with the help of that grant.

Restored north foundation wall of Sutherland-Wilson barn, showing installed conduit for future uses.

 

Caption: 18 September 2005: View of the finished north wall. The doorway to the former silo has been enclosed and window framing installed. Two conduit have been run through the wall here -- a 2-inch for electrical and a 1-inch (behind the 2-inch) for communications. Click image to enlarge.

 

West foundation wall of Sutherland-Wilson barn after restoration.

 

Caption: 18 September 2005: View of the finished northwest foundation corner. Note the beautiful, field-dressed stones that form this corner. The north wall was caved in at least 14 inches. It now is straight (+/- 0.5 inch). Click image to enlarge.

 

Exterior west wall of Sutherland-Wilson barn after restoration.

 

Caption: 18 September 2005: View of the finished west foundation wall, looking from the southwest corner toward the northwest corner. Click image to enlarge.

 

 

Front interior foundation wall of Sutherland-Wilson barn after restoration.

 

Caption: Week of 11 September 2005: The front interior foundation wall has been completely restored. Note the new ash sill beams along the top of the wall and the absense of gaps between it and the stone wall below. Click image to enlarge.

 

Exterior of the front foundation wall of the Sutherland-Wilson Barn, now nearly restored.

 

Caption: Week of 11 September 2005: Work is nearing completion on the barn foundation. This photo shows the exterior front wall with the new ash sill beams in place. The doorway in the foundation, which was added at a later date, is nearly restored to its original appearance. Click image to enlarge.

 

Replacement sill beam for the area behind the raised dirt ramp of Sutherland-Wilson barn.

 

Caption: Week of 4 September 2005: Replacement sill beam that will be located behind the dirt ramp at the front of Sutherland-Wilson Barn. Before the dirt is replaced against the wall and sill beam, the area will be covered with protective barrier materials. Click image to enlarge.

 

 

Rotten sill beam previously located behind the dirt ramp of Sutherland-Wilson barn.

Caption: Week of 4 September 2005: Rotten sill beam from behind the dirt ramp at the front of Sutherland-Wilson Barn. Click image to enlarge.

 

Replacement sill beam over doorway at southeast corner of Sutherland-Wilson barn.

 

Caption: Week of 4 September 2005: The sill beam has been rplaced over the doorway at the southeast corner of Sutherland-Wilson Barn. Click image to enlarge.

 

 

Hand-formed hinge and nails used to construct Sutherland-Wilson barn.

Caption: Week of 4 September 2005: A hand-forged iron hinge and many hand-made nails have been found during restoration of Sutherland-Wilson barn, which was constructed some time before the 1850s. Click image to enlarge.

The hand-formed hinge and the hand-made nails are almost identical to similar items created by the Romans for the construction of Hadrian's Wall -- between 122 and 130 AD. For images of similar Roman nails, see: Chester's Roman Fort (Iron Objects). Prior to the introduction of machine-forged nails, the technology used to create them remained the same for more than TWO THOUSAND YEARS. The nails and hand-formed hinge from the Sutherland-Wilson barn reflect the end of an era in Western civilization.

Interior of Sutherland-Wilson barn foundation after restoration.

 

Caption: Week of 28 August 2005: The western end of the north foundation wall after restoration. This interior view shows the new footers and rebuilt stone wall. Note the new ash sill beam at the upper left. Also note water-damaged lateral beams and flooring, which have not yet been replaced. Click image to enlarge

 

Tucking foundation wall.

 

Caption: Week of 18July 2005: Tucking of stones on side foundation walls. The best walls are repaired before the worst ones are rebuilt. See also cables straightening barn.

 

 

Footers are dug under and pourded adjacent to the old stone foundations to provide extra stability to the restored walls.

 

Caption: Week of 11 July 2005: New footers are poured under the old stone foumdation and to the side of the walls to provide extra stability to the restored walls. Click image to enlarge.

 

 

Removing the silo and barn ramp to provide access to the north foundation wall.

 

Caption: Week of 4 July 2005: Tje dirt from the barn ramp has been removed, providing work space to begin restoration of the north foudnation wall. Click to enlarge.

 

 

Removing the silo and dirt ramp to facilitate repair of the north foundation wall.

 

Caption: Week of 4 July 2005: Starting to remove the ramp from the north side of the barn. Note the silo foundation (front right) which has been broken into removable pieces. Click to enlarge.

 

 

Braces along the north founation wall to keep it from collapsing.

 

Caption: Week of 27 June 2005: The north foundation wall is reinforced further to keep it from collapsing during removal of the dirt ramp, which abuts this wall. Click to enlarge.

 

 

Bracking on the south side of the barn to keep the foudation and south sill beam from moving farther out of alignment.

 

Caption: Week of 7 June 2005: The rear sill beam is braced and jacks slowly begin to push the beam toward the north, to keep lateral floor beams from falling out of the sill-beam mortices. Click to enlarge.

 

 

Barn with jacks

 

Caption: Week of 9 May 2005: Restoration work on the Sutherland-Wilson Barn began with the installation of the first jack, which is beginning the slow process of raising a portion of the barn that has sagged due to a broken sill beam. Click to enlarge.

 

Hinz sign: Another Barn Is being Saved

For a description of the barn and photos of the barn before restoration bagan, please see Sutherland-Wilson Barn: An Assessment.

22 April 2005: The State of Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries notified the Pittsfield Township Historical Society that the Society has received a State and Local Historical Societies Grant.

In 2005, the state legislature allocated $100,000 for grants to historical societies. One hundred and fifty grant applications were received. The Pittsfield Township Historical Society was fortunate to receive about one-twelfth of this entire allocation -- a grant for $8,000. The grant will go toward restoration of the foundation and hand-hewn sill beams of the Sutherland-Wilson Barn.

 

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