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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/18/13
Unique barns on display
for first-ever Barn Tour
by CHRIS GRAYRichard Beringer looked about his home, a converted barn, and gave a smile at the uniqueness of it.
Observer Staff Writer
"You see 'em on the Home and Garden Channel, crazy people who live in barns," he said with a chuckle. "I think it's pretty cool."
The Bruce Township home and eight other local sites will be open to tour-goers during the Romeo Historical Society's first-ever Barn Tour, titled "What can you do with a Barn?" from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 21.
Beringer, a member of the Historical Society, said the fundraising tour originated a year ago when society members took a similar type of tour in Clarkston.
"For a couple of years we've tried to come up with a tour that was interesting to the men because we always have these home tours," he said. "We thought well, let's have a man cave tour."
As the name suggests, tour-goers can see the various uses of buildings that were once the mainstay of the community but have since been re-purposed. One barn, for example, is used for storing and renovating old cars, another is a "man cave" ideal for watching hockey games, while yet another is for blacksmithing.
There are nine sites to visit on the tour, though some sites have more than one building to check out. One location has five barns to see on a guided tour held every half hour.
Aside from the guided tours, guests are welcome to visit the remaining sites at their leisure. Maps showing the site locations will be provided at the Romeo Arts and Archives Center on 290 N. Main St. the day of the event.
Beringer and his wife, Joan, will feature their unique home, a converted barn, on the tour. They have lived in the home for more than 30 years, which was made using re-purposed materials from old barns.
"It's barn wood everywhere," he said. "You can study the old plans for notches and so forth and you can figure out where each one of these beams were in an old barn."
The building was originally a three-room house. Now the home has offices, a kitchen, den and rooms for guests and grandkids. The original chimney can still be seen today.
"It's technically a modern house built with 150-year-old materials," he said.
A name, "Toad Hall," can be seen above the home's mantle. Beringer said the name originates from the story "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame, and characters from the book can be found throughout the home. He said naming the home came from a tradition of giving names to objects like cars.
"It's an old tradition," he said. "It's a member of the family, this house."
The barn's original owners used it to store antiques. Nowadays, old farm tools can be seen hanging from beams alongside antique furniture. Since it is a home, it is one of the only sites where tour-goers are asked to remove their shoes to enter.
"We just want to share our home with people," he said.
In addition to touring the barns, tour-goers will be treated to music, art, cider and doughnuts.
The tours will be held rain or shine, with proceeds benefiting the Romeo Historical Society. Tickets are $8 if purchased before Sept. 21 and $10 the day of the tour. Children ages 6-12 are $5 while children under age 6 are free.
Tickets can be purchased at the following locations: Connelly's Creations, 175 S. Main St.; Two Romeo Girls, 220 N. Main St.; Town Hall Antique Mall Cafe, 205 N. Main St. and the Romeo Arts and Archives Center.
Call (586) 752-4111 for further information.