The barn of Marge and Mick Summervill of Marion holds more than a family of angus cattle. The limestone and wood barn, built in 1909, holds memories and family history on their farm east of Marion County Lake.
“There’s so much history there,” Marge said. “If we don’t tell it then it will die.”
The Summervills will share that history with those who attend a barn tour in conjunction with BarnFest on Oct. 4 and 5.
“I like the old barns,” Marge said. “I think their neat and hold so much history. When Teresa Huffman asked me earlier this spring I thought why not?”
Mick’s father settled the land they now reside on in the early 1900s. The barn was completed in 1909 by a team of six men, and took a year to finish.
“We believe it took around a year to complete,” Marge said. “It was made of quarried limestone from where the county lake is now. It was originally made with red wood siding.”
Mick said the lumber and concrete was shipped by rail into Ousler.
They have a photo of when the barn was built. The photo shows six men posing on a partially completed limestone wall of the barn. They chiseled their initials and the barn completion date of Nov. 5, 1909, on a corner stone on the northeast wall.
If you ask the Summervills about the barn, they will tell of the teams of horses that were housed inside, and helped haul hay into the second story loft by rope swings.
“I remember them doing that as a kid,” Mick said. “It took two teams and probably six men to haul hay into the loft.”
They will tell of the milk cows that were milked twice a day, every day and hauling the buckets to the springhouse to keep cool.
“Later we modified a wagon for a pony to haul all the buckets down to the spring house in one load,” he said. “We later modified the tack room so a cooler could fit inside. Hauling the buckets to the spring house got old after awhile.”
They will tell the initials of family passed inscribed in the concrete walkway, and of the calendar that hung on the wall that Mick’s father marked everything in, including when the swallows returned to nest in the barn.
“We have tried to keep the barn as original as possible, but still in working order,” Marge said. “When people visit they will see a working barn.”
The barn is mostly original on the inside, but on the outside, new metal siding was added to replace the ailing wooden siding. A metal roof was also replaced.
“In an old photo I have, it shows the barn having a copula,” Marge said. “I wish we still had that, but somewhere over the years it has disappeared.”
Marge plans to do some minor cleanup, but wants those who attend barn fest to see the barn for what it is, a working barn, and the heart of their family farm.
“It’s not just a building it has sentimental value,” she said. “When we were asked to do this, Mick told his brother about BarnFest, the two talked for hours reminiscing about different things that happened in the barn.”
Those who visit the Summervill farm will also be shown the natural spring that runs through the property.
“We used to keep rainbow trout in the pond filled by the spring, but one winter they disappeared,” Marge said. “The water stays at 58 degrees year round and has never gone dry.”
Along with the tour, BarnFest will feature speakers Oct. 4 that will share barn art, stone masonry, and barn repair at Marion Park and Lake Hall, followed by a barbecue dinner and entertainment.
On Oct. 5, breakfast will be served. Guests will then load onto the Marion County tourism bus to visit for barns across the county, and eating lunch at Harvey House in Florence.
To register visit http://www.kansasbarnalliance.org/.