Lanesville ‘Mail Pouch’ barn recognized
The Mail Pouch Tobacco barn on the Lanesville Heritage grounds last week received an honorable mention as the Best Paint Job out of 200 barns as part of a Bicentennial Barns of Indiana contest and display at the Indiana State Fair.
The distinction put the barn in the top 30 of the 200 barns submitted.
The Lanesville Heritage barn was one of three in Harrison County named to the 200 bicentennial barn list and featured at the state fair. The other two were the Eugene Gleitz barn and Richard, Russell and Kevin Schoen barn.
Each barn will receive a bicentennial sign to signify the honor.
‘If it wasn’t for all the hard work of volunteers and sponsors, we wouldn’t have been in a position to submit it for the award,’ Kenny Acton, Lanesville Heritage Festival committee chairman, said during the committee’s regular meeting Thursday night.
Publicity and sponsorship chair Doug Meredith and vice chair Jerry Reinhardt said they had an inquiry at the state fair about the paint used on the barn. He said the person told him the paint they use turns pink after two years.
‘So, if anyone knows what kind of paint was used, let us know,’ Reinhardt said.
The historic 1904 German bank barn was repainted with the recognizable words ‘Chew Mail Pouch, Treat Yourself To the Best’ in 1993 by Harley Warrick.
The barn was originally painted by Warrick 30 years before that, on a historic day in American history.
‘Harley recalled to me at the time of the 1993 paint that this Lanesville barn was one that he could recall the exact date of painting,’ artist Ray Day said in 2009. ‘After finishing one side of the barn on a cold November day, he returned to his motel and learned that President Kennedy had been shot earlier that day.’
The barn has since been refurbished and was repainted in the summer of 2009 by Scott Huntsinger and Dylan Walmsley, both of Franklin County, near the Ohio state line.
Warrick died in 2000.
Huntsinger and Walmsley also added Western Red Cedar, one of the best woods for barns, to re-enforce the structural integrity of the barn.
The duo tried to emulate the original painter, Warrick, as much as possible.
Warrick was hired by Mail Pouch to paint barns all across the country. He painted all of the barns by hand, without the use of stencils.
Warrick once estimated he painted 20,000 barns in his life.
The Mail Pouch barns were painted from 1890 all the way until the 1990s. Barn owners were paid just $1 to $2 a year for the advertisement in 1913, which amounts to about $20 to $40 today, but the main incentive for the barn owners was the fresh coat of paint which helped preserve the wood. Mail Pouch would paint one or two sides of the barn, depending on the visibility from the road, red or black and would paint the rest of the barn any color the owner wished.
The barn restoration project in Lanesville was paid for with funds from the Harrison County Community Foundation.
The Nedelkoff barn, in neighboring Floyd County, was named one of the top 10 barns out of the 200 submitted in the contest.
The top 10 barns were selected to represent the finest examples of architecture and stewardship and will be awarded an artisan plaque, handcrafted by Indiana Artisan Dorrel Harrison.
The Nedelkoff barn, built in 1941 (white with a green roof), can be seen perched on the knobs of Floyd County as a motorist drives west on Interstate 64.
Besides having been used for commercial cattle operations from the 1940s through the late 1960s, the barn has been the home of horses, ponies, chickens, rabbits, barn cats, many litters of kittens and even a long-lived donkey named Katie.
Each year for as long as Dr. Nedelkoff can recall, the large barn doors have been opened in April to welcome generations of barn swallows that migrate from their winter homes in Central America. Additionally, the barn has been the scene of rock concerts and school field trips.
‘This barn is truly a Hoosier treasure that must be preserved for future generations of man and animal alike,’ according to a description on the website www.200indianabarns.com.
Other top 10 barns were: T.C. Singleton Barn, Daviess County; Wendel Barn, Franklin County; Allhands Barn, Henry County; Sheets Barn, Howard County; Smoker Barn, LaPorte County; Feightner Barn, Noble County; Knigga Barn, Ohio County; Burcham Barn, Porter County; and Rouch Barn, St. Joseph County.
‘We were blown away by the level of pride that jumped off the entry forms and photos,’ Betsy Jones, project coordinator, said. ‘The stories that owners shared about their barns exuded family history, pride and a genuine love for those barns. It was extremely difficult to narrow the field to just 10. Some of the structures should be recognized in other ways.’