Michigan restaurant owner saves 128-year-old barn

April 4, 2018

FARMINGTON, Mich. (AP) — An eastern Michigan restaurant owner is salvaging a 128-year-old barn by moving it to a historic park for preservation.

More than 130 inquiries didn’t provide a solution for the 1890s Farmington barn offered for free on Facebook. Restaurant owner En Xie eventually stepped in and bought the property on which the barn sits.

Xie plans to develop two new restaurants on the land, but he wanted to preserve the barn because of its rich history.

Xie is paying $30,000 to have the barn placed on pallets and moved to Pontiac, where the Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society will reassemble and maintain it.

“A lot went into actually saving the thing,” said Kent Pass, a general contractor working for Xie’s restaurant, Samurai Steakhouse. “That barn is in pristine shape for being 130 years old, and I didn’t want to see it be wasted.”

The two-story barn held three horse stalls and a grain chute. The structure could have been used by travelers to store horses along the route between Detroit and Grand Rapids, suggested Dave Decker of the historical society.

“It tells us stories,” Decker said. “It tells us a lot about how people lived back in the 1890s.”

In Pontiac, the barn could become part of the historical society’s tours for students to learn about agricultural life more than 100 years ago, said Bill Grandstaff, a member of the society’s board of directors.

The historical society will cover costs to reassemble and maintain the barn. Grandstaff said the group is seeking grants and planning fundraisers, and that “if anyone wants to help us out, we’d appreciate it.”

Update hourly