This summer the Timber Framers Guild, in conjunction with Trillium Dell Timberworks, is hosting a raising and panel installation event in Geneseo, IL from August 12 to August 22, 2009, on behalf of the Antique Engine and Tractor Association. We will be assembling and raising a very large timber framed barn made from local white oak, and destined to house the collection of the AETA. Trillium Dell Timberworks of Knoxville, IL will be fabricating the timber frame, and providing project management support. The Timber Framers Guild will coordinate a training event around the rigging and raising of the frame, and the classing of the frame with modern insulation panels from Fischer SIPS of Louisville, KY. AETA, under the direction of President, Ron Miller of Geneseo, IL, is a membership organization dedicated to the preservation and display of antique power equipment. TDTW, under the direction of owner Rick Collins, is an Illinois company employing fifteen people and specializing in timber framing and historic restoration, and has been headquared in rural Knox County since 1999. In addition to crafting new timber frames, Trillium Dell performs historic restoration on notable buildings including churches, barns, cabins, and commercial structures. The restoration side of Trillium Dell Timberworks continues to flourish as both private and public clients seek to preserve or reuse timber frame structures. The historic carpentry in these structures informs Trillium Dell"s strategy of building and restoration, as does Trillium"s goal of sourcing local building materials whenever possible.
We will be assembling and raising a 5 bay square rule, white oak structure, with bays approximately 14 feet apart, a little shy of 48 feet wide x 70 feet long, 16 foot sidewalls, and with a 9:12 roof. Essentially this building retains the shape of barns of this area in proportion and design, for those built from about 1820 ‹ 1920. This building correctly represents the transition in frame typology and overall shape we saw here in agriculture from the wheat boom of the 1840"s and 1850"s, to the dramatic shift to livestock and hay production of the late 19th century. After approximately 1920 construction and buildings changed in Illinois. Much of this had to do with the dwindling resources in the region. The joinery is typical of our area during this timeframe and has a proven track record in our climate (tornadoes and snow). Due to heavy deforestation in the 1850"s, and the resulting mechanization and standardization of carpentry and construction in the 1890"s, this will be the first barn to be built in this county out of local materials and utilizing skilled joinery in over 150 years. Our partner, The Antique Engine and Tractor Association will be using this structure to display antique equipment and host community events in the years to come. As this building is reminiscent of the transition from strictly threshing barns, to more multipurpose structures such as the classic 3 portal barn, it will be the perfect setting for them. The TFG intends to integrate workshops on structural panel installation, raising and rigging techniques, forklift safety, scaffold erection, and project management. These modules, linked to the TFG Curriculum, will be offered subject to the level of interest. The general public is encouraged to visit the work site and ask questions throughout the life of the project.
The success of this project will send a clear message to people in the area that local long lasting products can be built with skilled labor and local materials in a sustainable way and demonstrate what the power of community action and community involvement can accomplish. For too long the Midwest has treated the environment and culture as if they were disposable, a building like this also sends a clear message to the people who have devastated the ecosystem as we know it here, it is possible to do something with the resources at hand, and there is value in managing them.