Crawford Barn

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The Crawford Barn was located on what was known as the Sharon Valley Stock Farm on Sharon Valley Rd. in Newark, Ohio. The farm was started by George W. Crawford, who came to Newark from Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1879. Originally a farmer of sheep and cattle, Crawford saw the demand for horses in Newark and decided to start raising horses instead. He purchased an existing farm on Sharon Valley Road and began his enterprise. In the years following, the business expanded greatly. After selling horses all over the United States, Crawford made a sale in France, which became the first of over 60 trips to Europe to sell horses. [1]

The original barn existed when Crawford purchased the farm, but in 1888 it burned to the ground. With the help of neighbors in 1890, what then became known as the Crawford Barn was built upon the original foundation, at the size of 100 feet by 54 feet. Afterward, the barn was added onto twice, making it one of the largest barns in Ohio.[2]

George Crawford was internationally known for his horses, and was even knighted as “Sir Crawford” by King Leopold of Belgium in 1909, possibly because of a horse he sold him. The family continued in the horse trade until the advent of tractors and farm machinery around 1915. They then switched to dairy farming, which they continued until the early 1960s. [3]

The Crawford family maintained ownership of the barn and surrounding property into the 1990s. In 1994 the Licking County Historical Society considered purchasing the 12,000 square foot barn in order to preserve it. They estimated a cost of $700,000 to purchase the barn and the adjacent house. [4] The price of purchasing and restoring the property prohibited the Society from taking on the project. Later in the decade, Dave Longaberger approached Bert Crawford, grandson of George W. Crawford, about purchasing the property. After consideration of the offer, Crawford decided instead to give the barn to Longaberger, who would ensure its survival and preservation. Longaberger planned to move the structure to his new Longaberger Homestead outside of Frazeysburg, Ohio. [5]

In January of 1998, the process of dismantling the barn piece by piece was begun. Christian & Son, Inc. was hired to oversee the dismantling and reconstruction of the barn. On the weekend of September 5-6, 1998, a public barn-raising was held in conjunction with two days of festivities at the Longaberger Homestead. The oldest portion of the barn was erected at the centerpiece of the festival, with the two additions being reconstructed later. [6]

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References

  1. “From Sheep to Horses,” Newark Advocate, April 28, 1954.
  2. Eileen Dempsey, “Barn-Again Believers,” The Columbus Dispatch, September 4, 1998, 1D..
  3. Larry Fugate, “Huge Barn Reminder of City’s Vanishing History,” The Advocate, July 18, 1994.
  4. Larry Fugate, “Huge Barn Reminder of City’s Vanishing History,” The Advocate, July 18, 1994.
  5. Dempsey, “Barn-Again Believers.”
  6. “Past Revived,” The Advocate, September 3, 1998.