Barns of BedfordApril 26, 2013
Landmarks of Our Agricultural Heritage
A 1998 architectural and archaeological survey stated “Bedford County contains some of the finest historic rural architecture in Virginia, ranging from small log dwellings and (agricultural) outbuildings to impressive lantation seats….” Since that time, several rural historic initiatives have taken place in Bedford, but none of
these has specifically addressed barns and other agricultural structures, many of which are in fragile condition.
Recognizing the historic value of many of Bedford’s barns and other agricultural outbuildings, and their potential impact on the area’s agricultural industry, the Bedford Historical Society, with cooperation from the Bedford County Farm Bureau, is promoting these significant, unique, and often disappearing, rural resources. The Barns of Bedford project has been endorsed by the Bedford County Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board.
The goals of the project are to:
- Promote awareness and appreciation of Bedford’s historic barns and farms
- Advance the agricultural heritage of the Bedford area
- Educate the public about the various aspects of our agriculture industry
- Enhance the economic impact of agriculture in the area
- Support the preservation/rehabilitation of barns and related structures
The Bedford Historical Society has hired Daniel Pezzoni of Landmark Preservation Associates to conduct a survey of farms, barns, and other agricultural outbuildings in Bedford City and County as part of our “Barns of Bedford” project.
The “windshield” survey, which began in February 2013, involves the photographing and brief field notation of what will ultimately be hundreds of properties with potentially over a thousand individual historic farm buildings. On a typical survey day, historical society members volunteer to drive public roads while Dan uses county tax parcel maps that show building outlines to locate candidate properties. He uses a coding method to quickly record written information in the field that will supplement or in essence serve as captions for the
photographs. To date, over 400 properties have been surveyed.
Owners of barns that are not visible from public roads are invited to contact the Bedford Historical Society for inclusion in the survey. In addition, any historical information about a farm, its buildings or families, would be appreciated.
The survey being conducted by Mr. Pezzoni is the first major component of our project. Longer term plans include areas such as public education, alternate agriculture enterprises, agri-tourism, rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of barns, and historic designation. Projects are currently underway for a calendar of barn art produced by students at Bedford Middle School, as well as a multi-venue community art show featuring area barns being planned for September 2014.
For more information on the Barns of Bedford project, please contact Betty
Lambeth Gereau of the Bedford Historical Society at 540-293-0800, or by mail at
P.O. Box 602, Bedford, VA 24523.