Five Mile House barn

Sections of a restored barn are unloaded at the Five Mile House southeast of Charleston on Friday. Work to reassemble the barn at the site is scheduled to begin Monday.

CHARLESTON -- When driving past the Five Mile House, Laura Smith has been hoping to see progress on the effort to relocate a historic barn there.

The Westfield resident stopped by the site Friday morning to hear that the newly restored sections of the barn were scheduled to arrive there that day.

She said she's the great-great-great granddaughter of the barn's original owner, Commodore Perry Davis, who farmed in the area in the 19th Century.

"It's exciting to see," Smith said.

It led Five Mile House Foundation President Tom Vance to say he wanted to invite Smith's family to a commemoration event that will take place after the barn project is complete.

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That will be visibly closer to reality now with the restored sections arriving Friday. Work on re-assembling those sections is set to begin on Monday, followed by other work that Vance said could mean the barn will be ready for use in a few months.

"If we have the funding, we could have everything pretty much done by summer," he said.

The barn was built in 1880 and was originally located along Westfield Road in southeastern Coles County, about three miles east of the Five Mile House.

The foundation oversees the Five Mile House site, home to what's thought to be one of the oldest remaining structures in Coles County.

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As part of its efforts, the foundation obtained the barn when former owner Dallas Nichols donated it to the organization in 2017, and a fundraising effort followed to restore the barn and relocate it.

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The company that conducted the restoration, Trillium Dell Timberworks, removed the structure from its original location in August.

With the restoration work complete, the structure was brought back to Coles County on Friday from the company's location near Galesburg.

Vance said the schedule calls for the barn's frame to be erected next week and trusses and rafters to be installed the week after that.

There will "quite a bit" of the original siding used, Vance also said. That will be visible inside the barn while new siding outside will "look like the original," he said.

The fundraising effort has been made up of private donations and help from a $25,000 grant from the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation.

Vance said the estimated cost of the project was originally about $175,000 but is now closer to $185,000, which wasn't completely unexpected for a construction project of the size.

The foundation has another fundraising campaign planned with a goal of bringing in an additional $50,000, he said.

Other parts of the project include installing a brick floor, which will include heavier duty bricks for the location of barn's planned blacksmith forge.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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