Washington State has a remarkable program, the Washington Heritage Barn Register, which commemorates barns as a representation of the state’s agricultural, economic, and cultural history. The program was created in May 2007 with the passage of SHB 2115. The program is strictly honorary, however, heritage barn owners are eligible to request funding through the Heritage Barn Rehabilitation Grant Program.
In 2008, Artifacts had extensive contact with barns throughout Washington through our completion of the statewide survey and physical needs assessment of heritage barns, commissioned by the Washington State Department of Archaeology (DAHP) and the Washington State Heritage Barn Preservation Advisory Committee. The following year, Artifacts conducted another extensive survey and inventory, this time within unincorporated Pierce County. Although this survey was not limited to farm buildings, the agricultural character of Pierce County resulted in the survey of several barns in the county.
After both of these projects, it seemed natural to extend an offer to help prepare Heritage Barn Register nominations for property owners of barns surveyed through the Pierce County project. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet the owners, sometimes descendants of the original owners, and learn the stories connected to these amazing structures. We provided our expertise as a complimentary service and, as a result, 16 barns were listed to the Heritage Barn Register from Pierce County in 2011.