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home : news : state news free June 28, 2016

9/4/2013 1:16:00 PM
Old barn at University of Illinois getting new life

SAVOY, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois plans to build a solar-energy farm where a century-old barn now stands, but the old building will live on in a new location.

The barn was built in the early 1900s on what used to be the Cruse family farm in Savoy, just south of Champaign, land that is now part of the university.

The old barn was originally set to be demolished along with a couple of other buildings on the former farm, but It will be moved to Congerville, 20 miles northwest of Bloomington.

Trillium Dell Timberworks of Knoxville will be paid $55,000 to take the barn down, and plans to sell the building to a buyer who plans to use it for horses.

“This is by far one of the most well-maintained buildings that I’ve ever taken down. It’s in what I call near-perfect condition,” said Rick Collins, who owns the company.  “To build a brand-new building like this, as it stands today, is a $600,000 to $700,000 endeavor. And there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s just nothing wrong with this building.”

Cathy Cruse Revere grew up on the farm and is thrilled the barn will be used again.

“We just thought it was such a beautiful and well-built building,” Revere, who now lives in California, said. “We hated to see it rot away. I’m happy that it’s going to be living on somewhere. It was such a landmark.”

Revere’s great-grandfather, Andrew Cruse bought the farm around 1900, she said. He was an Irish immigrant who, according to family stories, reached the United States as a child stowaway aboard a ship.

Crews started taking the barn down last week, prying out floorboards. The roof and farm will follow and the job should be finished in about two weeks, project manager Tim McGee said.

The barn, New England salt box design is nearly 40 feet tall and has about 7,000 square feet of floor space.

The old timber frame, Collins said, makes it relatively easy to move.

“It’s an exceptionally well-built timber frame,” he said

Collins said he was told the 42-foot, 8-by-8-inch timbers used as beams came from Indiana and were hewn by hand. The rest of the lumber, he said,

“This is from the last of the era of the big, well-built timber-frame barns,” Collins said.

The solar farm is still waiting on state approval. A private firm, Phoenix Solar Inc. of San Ramon, Calif., would build it and operate it for 10 years. After that decade, the university would own it.


Information from: The News-Gazette,

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