The Barn Project Story
The Barn Project
A longstanding goal of the Franklin Historical Society has been the addition of a barn as a capstone to complete the complex of historic buildings in Lions Legend Park. Al Block and Vivian Guzniczak, past presidents of the Franklin Historical Society, recall several initiatives to add a barn to our historic building complex; however, for a number of reasons the goal was not realized.
Jim Luckey, current President of the Franklin Historical Society, had the foresight to take the barn project in a new direction. Under his leadership, the Board of Directors made a firm commitment to the project. Jim created a team to get the project underway. Steve Gyuro, local businessman and entrepreneur (and now a Board member), became part of the team early in 2012. Steve was instrumental in relocation of the Delikat smokehouse, another building that proudly stands completed in Lions Legend Park. With Jim's negotiation, Joanne Kaczmarek renewed the Wendt family's offer to donate their barn to the Franklin Historical Society. Joanne's grandparents bought the farm located at 3617 West Oakwood Road in 1919. The white pine, post and beam barn was built in the 1880's, about 30 years prior to her grandparents' purchase of the farm. Both Jim and Steve put much thought into the dismantling of the Wendt family barn.
That was the beginning of the barn project gaining momentum. A fund-raising committee was formed shortly thereafter. A goal of $100,000 by July 2013 was set for the capital campaign to build the barn in Lions Legend Park.
The fund-raising committee invited founding farm families to a kick-off event in Legend Park on Saturday, July 28. A big raffle was held on Labor Day at the St. Martins Fair with a top prize of two tickets to a Packers/Bears game and many other donated prizes. A barn dance at The Hideaway with Vern & The Originals providing music on November 11 drew a good crowd. During 2012, donations started coming in from many founding farm families, Historical Society members, local businesses and many others interested in our project.
Bids were sought for the dismantling of the building, but Board President, Jim Luckey, felt these bids were not in the best interests of the Franklin Historical Society. A suggestion from Steve Gyuro, namely to bring on board a local home builder, Gary Edwards, proved to be a wise decision. Steve and Gary put together a bid that was nearly half the amount of a previous bidder. The Board accepted the bid, and the trio of Jim, Steve and Gary went to work. Jim obtained the necessary permits and lined up dumpsters donated by Johns Disposal Service. This donation saved literally thousands of dollars. We are very grateful to Johns Disposal. Steve and Gary went about systematically taking down the barn. It took about three and a half weeks to finish. The expedient dismantling of the barn was made possible by another helpful contact made by Jim, namely Giuffre Bros. At no expense to the Historical Society, Giuffre Bros. Cranes provided the use of a large crane, another huge savings for the FHS. Caesar, the crane operator, did an excellent job to carefully lift and stack the main frames.
Currently, the architectural plans drawn up several years ago are being reviewed by Mark Carstenson (gratis). After the plans have been finalized to the Franklin Historical Society's satisfaction, the next step will be to obtain permits from the City of Franklin to start the building process. The plan is to build an historically accurate but somewhat smaller barn in the open space behind the Whelan School in Lions Legend Park. The barn will measure approximately 26' by 45' and will be approximately 23' in height. None of the beautiful oak trees in the park will be taken down or damaged in this process. Contractors are currently being sought to erect the barn.
A second barn dance to raise funds has been planned for Sunday, April 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. at The Hideaway, 9643 South 76th Street. Vern & The Originals will again provide good old-fashioned dance music. There will be a huge 50-50 raffle as well as other raffle and door prizes. Advance tickets can be purchased at The Hideaway and will also be available for purchase at the society's annual meeting on Saturday, April 13, at 1 p.m. in the Fadrow Room of the Franklin Public Library. Advance ticket prices are $12 for two tickets or $7 for one. The cost of tickets at the door will be $15 for two or $10 for one. For additional details, please contact Jim Luckey at 421-6539 or Luanne Burdick at 423‑0065.
We are planning additional fund-raising events. Watch this site for future events.
The Franklin Historical Society has been very careful to spend our limited resources in an expedient, productive fashion. Many in-kind donations have enabled us to keep expenditures in check.
We greatly appreciate all of the generous donations made to date by Franklin farm families, Franklin Historical Society members, other individuals and local businesses too numerous to mention. All large donations to the barn project will be recognized at a future date yet to be determined. Thank you all for your past generosity to our capital campaign to build a barn as an additional educational tool to our complement of historic buildings in Lions Legend Park.
We still have a long way to go in our capital campaign to actually start the building process!
It's not to late to get on the “barn wagon” by making a contribution to the barn fund. You may wish to pick up a brochure regarding the barn project from the kiosk in the Franklin Public Library or the information desk at Franklin City Hall. No donation is too small (or too large) to help us in our quest to build the barn. Please send your tax-deductible donation to the Franklin Historical Society, Barn-Raising Project, P.O. Box 320012, Franklin, WI 53132.
As the barn project progresses, updates to this site will be made.
In the meantime, take a look at these pictures which were taken in Fall 2012 showing the disassembly of the Wendt barn.