MILTON, Ga. – If you live in Milton, chances are that you have passed by the barn on Redd Road. It’s not too hard to see – big, red and maybe two feet from the side of the road.
The barn just celebrated a milestone – it turned 125 years old. Roughly.
Adam and Kylie Ford are the new owners of the property on which the barn sits. They moved in about a year ago and decided to throw a party to honor the old barn and meet their neighbors and community at the same time. The celebration, complete with horse rides, a bonfire and food, was held Saturday, April 26.
About 100 people showed up for the event, many of them coming up close to the barn for the first time, while others have grown to love it over the years.
“There’s a lot of love for the barn,” Adam Ford said.
The barn is such a landmark, Ford said when he was clearing it of debris and termites, there was a large dumpster on the property. He said neighbors would come up to him in a panic, thinking he was tearing the barn down.
It’s certainly a fixer-upper, Ford said. Beyond the termite infestation, it needed to be cleared out. There is a second floor, but it is rickety and not safe for standing. Ditto goes for the stairs leading up to it. However, Ford said he and his family are committed to preserving it.
“I don’t want it to go down on my watch,” Ford said.
He’s cleaned the barn up, including adding a brick floor under the central opening in preparation for the party.
Originally from Australia, the Fords moved to Milton from New York City for work.
Kylie and her son Fynn both ride horses, and Ford said the whole family wanted animals, so living in Milton was a good fit – rural yet close to downtown offices.
And what says “rural” if not a big, red barn?
Local historian and barn guru Bob Meyers came to tell a little history of the barn and its property.
“A lot of barns first built here were not built well,” Meyers said. “These were poor farmers.”
He said many barns built from northern European immigrants were built to withstand severe weather, such as snow and cold. Southern barns, in contrast, were built often without real foundations and were not built as sturdily.
Called a “transverse crib barn,” the barn on Redd Road has a center aisle with rooms on each side. Six stalls line the aisle, with two further stalls on either side of the barn, along the outside. Some stalls had floors while others did not, being intended for animals.
“This wood is beautiful wood,” Meyers said, noting the barn incorporated wood from a nearby sawmill that stood down the road.
The barn’s original owners were Dinsmore family.
The wife, Patsy, was a telephone operator. Meyers said it was common for the time for farmers to host telephone exchanges, where the main switchboard ran through their homes. Someone would have to physically switch callers and all callers could hear each other.
The barn has withstood the ravages of time in good shape, despite the termites, wear and tear and a car crash a few years ago that took out one wall.
While the Dinsmores and their farm are both long gone, the barn still stands.
“Everybody knows this barn,” Meyers said. “It’s a treasure of Milton.”