CHARLESTON -- For now, it's a barn without walls, but that will change soon.

In the meantime, the roof and framework were enough to host fiddlers and antique fans during the Five Mile House's first summer event on May 26.

Work that began in August to relocate the historic barn to the Five Mile House is nearing completion.

The frame and roof give a good idea of how the barn will eventually appear and were enough for activities during the Memorial Day weekend event to take place there, said Tom Vance, president of the Five Mile House Foundation.

"It was exciting," Vance said of seeing the barn put to use.

Vance said the foundation has raised nearly $200,000 to fund its effort to relocate the barn to the Five Mile House site at the intersection of Illinois Route 130 and Westfield Road southeast of Charleston.

The barn represents a long-term goal for the foundation, which owns and oversees the site that features the Five Mile House, one of the oldest remaining structures in Coles County.

Work began in August with the dismantling of the nearly 140-year-old barn at its original location along Westfield Road, about three miles east of the Five Mile House.

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A Galesburg-area company, Trillium Dell Timberworks, did restoration work on the barn's lumber and returned the materials to the Five Mile House in March.

Vance said the company was at the site for about a month, doing the framework and building the trusses and roof.

Next up will be the barn's siding that will include some of the original pieces that were in good enough condition to restore and use again. Vance said the new and old siding will be layered so "the outside will look like the original."

There's also already a concrete slab on the ground inside the barn. That's where a blacksmith's forge will be located, part of an effort to recreate blacksmith work thought to have once taken place at the Five Mile House.

The barn's ceiling has its original hay rack, and Vance said there are plans to have demonstrations on how hay bales were loaded from the barn.

Vance said there is no set schedule for the project to be completed but the siding should be in place my mid-summer and the blacksmith forge should be ready by the end of summer.

The foundation conducted a fundraising campaign this spring that put the financing "pretty much where we need to be," Vance said. That added to the money raised from earlier campaigns and from a grant from the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation.

"It's exciting to see it all come together, Vance said.

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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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