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Beholding a barn’s transformation

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by Reneé Mizar

 

Communications Coordinator, Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley

While countless barns across the Dungeness Valley have been lost to disuse and decay, the 1934-built Cline Barn in Dungeness stands in stark contrast and remains a striking reminder of the area’s agricultural past.

 

The story of the historical structure’s transformation from rapidly deteriorating behemoth to revitalized, postcard-worthy barn by owners Charles and Barbara Steel is one of adaptive reuse, vision and personal passion that – at five years and counting – is still unfolding.

 

Charles Steel will chronicle those ongoing renovation efforts, and Cline family descendant Robert Clark will discuss the barn’s 80-year history, in a joint presentation at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at the historical Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road in Sequim.

 

Admission for program, sponsored by the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley (MAC), is $5 for MAC members and $7 for non-members, payable at the door.

 

As part of the program, Clark will share the history and his personal memories of the barn that his great uncle William Henry Cline had built in 1934. Steel, who has owned the barn since 2008 and began renovations a year later, will detail past and recent revamps to the structure as well as future plans for it.

 

The following day, Steel will lead a guided tour of the barn, located at 712 Clark Road in Dungeness. The tour begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, and is $20 for MAC members and $25 for non-members, payable at the door.

 

Ample parking is available onsite and attendees are advised that access to the barn loft requires the use of stairs.

 

“You have to see it to appreciate it,” Steel said of the barn. “You will be able to see all of the work that was accomplished.”

 

Having begun renovations in the summer of 2009, Steel said the most recent projects have included a re-roofing, adding new sliding barn doors, copulas and exterior windows, and installing a weathervane.

 

“Everything has been a challenge and exciting,” he said. “The big challenge has been finding contractors, architects and structural engineers to tackle the project. Luckily, we found great ones.”

 

Since its purchase, Steel and wife Barbara had intended to build a glass structure as livable space within the barn but he said holding a wedding there this past fall totally changed their perspective on its planned use.

 

He plans to share those details during the presentation and tour.

 

Regardless of its function, Steel remains fully committed to preserving the 80-year-old structure inside and out.

 

“This barn must be preserved,” he said. “It was built for celebrations.”

 

This presentation and tour are the latest in a series of local history programs presented by the MAC this winter.

 

Additional upcoming programs at the Dungeness Schoolhouse include the Sequim-based Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory with its director Charles Brandt on Friday, Jan. 24, and late 1936 Olympic gold medalist and former Sequim resident Joe Rantz with his daughter Judy Willman on Friday, Jan. 31.

 

For more information, call 681-2257 or visit www.macsequim.org.
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