We have very limited experience in this realm, but it turns out that when you receive an award—especially one you weren’t expecting—you spend some time reflecting on how it all came to be. Reflecting and counting our blessings are the two main things Jeff and I have done since we were notified about our upcoming award presentation at the Bloomington Restorations, Inc. (BRI) annual meeting. A small part of that reflection follows.
Before Whippoorwill Hill event venue was even a thought or dream of ours, Jeff and I were merely in the market for a small farm in Monroe County. On that farm we planned on growing crops and raising kids and cattle. The first farm we looked at with a realtor we fell in love with: the farm off Fairfax road.
Knowing that we wanted as much tillable acreage and pasture space we could afford in hopes of maximizing farming income, one of the early recommendations we received was to “dig a hole, push the cabin in the hole, and burn it” and “tear down the barn and sell those hand hewn beams—they’d bring big money!” All in the name of maximizing pasture ground.
Even before we knew what a historic treasure we had, the recommendation made my stomach turn. It felt disrespectful to even say something like that in the presence of such old, majestic structures that had been standing for clearly decades if not a century before we were born. I kept thinking that if only those walls could talk, they would probably teach us all a thing or two of the past: about hard work, perseverance, and respect (interestingly, some of the same values we want to instill in those kids we’re raising).
Instead of employing our excavator and lighters, we reached out to Duncan Campbell, Bloomington’s resident historic guru, for a crash course in historic real estate. He came to the farm with another brilliant historian and clued us in to what a hidden treasure we had stumbled upon and for which we were now responsible. Duncan made it clear to us how important this farm was to Monroe County’s historic story and drove home the historic importance of the barn. He believes our barn is one of (if not the only) remaining double crib barns left in Monroe County, if not in all of southern Indiana.
Jeff and I fell deeper in love with the farm after learning a small bit of its history and decided that we would do our best to honor and be good stewards of the structures while we were lucky enough to own them. Whippoorwill Hill event venue was born of that commitment.
Our small wedding venue business gives a new use to the old, necessitates the maintenance of the buildings, and provides income that will be utilized to maintain the historic farm. Whippoorwill Hill and our farm are part of an ongoing project that we are excited about and that we completely enjoy doing. We have so much personal and familial satisfaction and pride wrapped up in the farm.
We are honored that others in the community have noticed the work that our families have put into the farmstead and structures. Thank you, Duncan, for the recommendation for 2018’s Outstanding Preservation Project, and thank you, Bloomington Restorations Inc., for the awesome award and epic keepsake brick. We are honored to have been recognized at your annual meeting, and because of your generosity, we are that much more motivated to keep this project moving forward!
In hopes of safeguarding the farm, we have elected to start the long process of putting the farm and structures on the Federal and State Historic Register. Stay tuned for more information to that end!
For more information on Whippoorwill Hill or booking your event, please call or email us at (812) 327-4218 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Bloomington Restorations, Inc. visit http://bloomingtonrestorations.org/.