2017-06-22 / Life in Leelanau

Dechow barn gets makeover


TERRY RYAN points to work to be done on the Frederick Dechow Barn Monday. The restoration workshop will focus on damage seen in the barn. TERRY RYAN points to work to be done on the Frederick Dechow Barn Monday. The restoration workshop will focus on damage seen in the barn. The damage left behind by a toothy rodent did not bring a smile to Terry Ryan, a carpenter with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

“Well, there is a lot of porcupine damage,” said Ryan while examining the busy work of rodents with a healthy appetite for wood.

The National Park Service is hosting a barn restoration project this week at the Frederick Dechow Barn, located north of Glen Arbor off M-22, as part of its 21st annual “hands-on” workshop series.

Volunteers will be welcome through Saturday.

On Monday, Ryan said more extensive renovation was needed due to neighborhood porcupines that had been dining in the historic barn. Projects include replacing the threshing floor and rebuilding stalls in the back of the barn.

The project will also include the replacement of doors on the garage next to the barn with age-appropriate hinge doors, as well as any unexpected rot or damage that the crew many find.

Volunteers traveled from across the county, state and nation for the project, Ryan said. More than 47 people have signed up to volunteer throughout the week.

Workers are not required to be skilled in the building trades, although experience is appreciated and utilized, Ryan said. One purpose of the workshop is to teach techniques and train owners and those interested how to restore timber frame structures. Concrete and stonework is included.

Past workshop attendees have ranged from ages 7-75 with each contributing their skills to a project.

“Some of the people have been here before and all of the people volunteering today just want to help out the National Park,” Ryan said. “It’s nice when we have returning people but anyone is welcome.”

Those interested in volunteering this week can contact park historical architect Kimberly Mann at 326-4771 or email kimberlymann@nps.gov.

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