Goodell Gardens & Homestead Bank Barn

Greater Erie Award for Preservation Excellence

If Goodell Gardens & Homestead had a flagship, the Goodell Bank Barn would be it. First set on its foundation in 1885 by George Goodell, this landmark building consists of a circa 1840s barn with hand-hewn beams on the north end and a circa 1860s addition with early sawn beams on the south end. Mr. Goodell purchased these two buildings and moved them to his farm, setting them atop a foundation made of stones pulled from his fields in 1885.

Renovating the barn has been a multiyear effort. In 2013, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority granted funding to put a new metal standing-seam-style roof on this historic building. In 2016, an angel donor pledged $20,000 toward the repair and renovation of the barn. This gift was made in four installments of $5,000 per year through 2019. In 2018, the Erie Community Foundation granted funding to finalize the fieldstone foundation repair and add temporary electrical service outside of the barn.

In May 2018, Goodell Gardens & Homestead launched a “Buy a Board” campaign. Members, donors, and supporters were asked to contribute to the renovation of the exterior of the historic Bank Barn by “buying a board” to help side it.

The re-siding project took two years to complete. The western elevation on the barn was re-sided during the fall of 2018 and the two most public-facing elevations were completed in the fall of 2019.

The current slate of work for 2020 will address the northern elevation of the building and will include updating and repairing the doors and the ramp leading to them.

Goodell Gardens & Homestead is being awarded a 2020 Greater Erie Award for Preservation Excellence. This award category recognizes buildings, structures or spaces, at least 50 years or older,that have been conserved, stabilized and preserved in a manner honoring the individual property.

Erie County has a strong agricultural heritage. A temperate climate, fertile soil and access to rail transportation make the Lake Erie shoreline ideal for fruit and vegetable farming. Apple, cherry and peach orchards, vineyards and roadside farmers’ markets have dotted the landscape along the lake since 1850. Inland, Erie County farmers specialized in dairying for most of the 20th century.

Agriculture remains an important sector of the county’s economy with approximately 1,100 operating farms. Studies show, however, that the agricultural sector is slowly shrinking, threatening the preservation of Erie County’s agricultural heritage. When Preservation Erie and Wise Preservation Planning completed the countywide historic resource inventory in 2014, which updated data collected during the 1982 inventory, it was noted we are quickly and quietly losing our agricultural heritage.

Our rural communities are just beginning to grapple with two questions: “What will become of Erie County’s historic farmhouses, silos and barns as land is removed from active agricultural use, and how do you determine which buildings are worth preserving?”

The Bank Barn is worth saving. With the rich agricultural history of Goodell Gardens & Homestead and southern Erie County, the barns at Goodell Gardens are well-recognized and loved by the community. The relocation and reconstruction of the 1845 sheep barn, which is now known as the Event Barn, further illustrates the dedication of Goodell Gardens & Homestead to the preservation of our agricultural resources. The Evert Barn is a second example of an historically accurate adaptive reuse project.

Restoration of the Goodell Gardens & Homestead Bank Barn supports the broader regional goals for community and economic development and an improved quality of life for our region. Thank you, Goodell Gardens & Homestead, for helping to preserve and share Erie County’s agricultural heritage!

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