What began as an effort in 2005 by a local barn enthusiast, John Haskins, to save a landmark barn has now evolved into a treasured Muscatine heritage attraction. Now, work led by the Muscatine County Historic Preservation Commission has resulted in the Old Barn being listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The NRHP is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. The National Park Service’s Register of Historic Places is part of a program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. Being listed can streamline attempts to receive tax credits for preservation and interpretation.
Visitors to Discovery Park and the Old Barn will see changes at the site. Following the decision by the supervisors two years ago to annex land adjacent to the Old Barn into Discovery Park, several structures and an unneeded portion of road have been removed. A new access road, along with more public amenities and a children’s play area are already being erected. As part of Discovery Park, county staff is now responsible for upkeep. The Friends of the Old Barn utilize the facilities for educational events, as well as partnering with county staff to open and interpret the barn for visitors.
The NRHP announcement comes as the Friends of the Old Barn are finalizing plans for their last event of the season. The Friends are hosting “Sunset at the Old Barn,” a family event on Saturday, September 28th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Skinny’s Barbeque will have food for purchase throughout the event. There will be barn tours and activities for families. Acoustic music will be provided by area singer/songwriter, Bill Anson. The public is invited.
Private tours to see the inside of the barn are scheduled by contacting the Conservation Board office at (563)-264-5922.