I want to preserve and protect this iconic piec of our community's history for generations to come by making it functional once again. This barn was built during the WWII era in 1943 in Woodburn, IN, officially the smallest city in Indiana. It is a bank barn, and they definitely do not make them like they used to. The barn was built with native timbers that are still original to the building and still incredible to look at to this day. This barn was transformed into a popular reception hall called the Little Red Barn in the early 60's by Ruby and Oscar Hanefeld, who owned the property before us.
Now, back then the road we live on used to be a dirt/stone road and turning a live stock barn into a reception hall was pretty unconventional. Needless to say, they had some guts. However, it turned out to be pretty successful and operated into the late 80's. Several people in town remember attending parties at the Little Red Barn or having their own get togethers in it. Unfortunately, Ruby and Oscar had passed away well before we purchased the property, so we couldn't get the full story on how they managed to do everything. However, their daughter lives next to us and their two sons still live in the community. They told me that they literally had to go out there all summer one year to shovel out all the cow poop, and build the upstairs dance floor because at the time it was just a hayloft. Now, the whole upstairs is a gorgeous hardwood dance floor. They even added on to the barn to add bathrooms and indoor plumbing all by themselves.
The incredible amount of work and perseverance to put the Little Red Barn together really inspires me, and I feel like it deserves to live on. These old barns are disappearing from our landscape at an alarming rate. It will take communities and people to come together to save them. I have been in contact with the president of the Indiana Barn Foundation. Although they do not have grant funding at this time, they have given me some great advise and has helped me gain publicity for my project. It is a shame when these barns fall apart taking their memories with them.
The barn sat for 25 years with very little maintenance and faded out of memory somewhat. That’s when we took a wrong left turn. We were out to look at another house down the road, and stumbled upon this property that had been for sale for some time. And what do you know? We just happened to be in the market. We were advised that purchasing this property for our first home was probably against our best interest being young with a young family, and old farm house is a lot of work. The realtor actually took us to 5 other houses before we decided on this one. We knew we were hands on, hardworking people. We couldn’t turn away from this property that we both felt a connection to and loved just because it took work.
When we looked at the barn, it was very dilapidated and full of junk from storage and the little flee markets Ruby used to do every now and again. Ceiling tiles were falling down and the roof was damaged so there was some extensive water damage to it too. So, when we bought the property the barn needed A LOT of work. It sounded like a cool idea, but a farfetched dream at the time to get the barn up and going again. We ended up cleaning it up just enough to have our own wedding reception in it, and I fell in love with the barn once I saw what it was capable of. Three years later, my life took a dramatic change and gave me the opportunity and the time to do what I truly love, restoring this beautiful barn and letting the legacy of the generations before me to live on.
We have replaced the roof and fixed the water damage. Then I gutted and repainted the whole downstairs, added a changing room, and added some decorations. So far,we have invested over 17k of our own money into this project. Like, I said I am detirmined to make this happen. I have also been in touch with our local news stations and newspapers to gain awareness of our project.
Their daughter was tickled pink when she heard I had plans on restoring the barn, and comes over to check on it from time to time. Every time she does she tells me that I remind her a lot of her mom, and her mom is looking down at me and smiling because Ruby loved this barn so much and she knows I do too.
Much must be done to the barn before it is officially up to Indiana state code and allowed to operate as an official reception hall again. I wanted to keep the name "The Little Red Barn" However, there is a restaurant in Indiana operating under this name. So for LLC purposes, I have decided to call it Ruby's Little Red Barn.
It is very expensive renovating an old barn, let alone, making it a reception hall. However, I started this project because I fell in love with the history, nystalgia, and potential of this barn, and I want to share it and make it affordable for almost anybody on any budget to enjoy. This is where you can help preserve and protect this amazing piece of history for our community and all others to enjoy. I want to make the barn affordable to rent on any budget by keeping a low overhead. I am also a photographer, ordained minister, and a party coordinator so I can create a lot of synergy within my business as well as helping the community I live in by providing jobs to cater, entertain, or provide services to the guests that rent out the barn. I feel like this is my calling and was meant to be So, please support me and join me on my journey to save and preserve history for generations to come and help our small community grow by restoring Ruby's Little Red Barn Reception Hall.