Hay Barn Restoration Project

The Hay Barn will be closed until further notice for emergency repairs. Read on to find out what is in store for this visitor favorite. Our Deputy Executive Director, Jon Wagar explains…

The Hay Barn, designed by architects Kendall, Taylor, and Stevens.

Prior to the fire in 1915. The Hay Barn, designed by architects Kendall, Taylor, and Stevens.

The Hay Barn is one of the three iconic barns at Duke Farms. Just like the Farm Barn and the Coach Barn, it was designed by the architects Kendall, Taylor, and Stevens, at the turn of the 19th century. It burned down in 1915 and was later converted to a statuary garden by Doris Duke. The remaining stone walls have been standing since it burned down and it has become one of the premier destinations for visitors to Duke Farms. Recently, staff at Duke Farms has observed several problems with the walls that pose a significant safety problem and will eventually lead to structural problems.

Although it has lasted 100 years without a roof, the Hay Barn stone walls were not designed to be open to the elements. The original roof of the Hay Barn rested on and overhung the tops of the walls. In addition to limiting the amount of rainwater hitting the face of the walls, the roof prevented rain and snow from accumulating on the top of the walls. We believe that this accumulation of rain and snow over the last century has resulted in the deterioration of the walls from the top down. This is evident in the extensive areas of missing and cracked mortar near the top of the walls.

Allowing vines to grow on the Hay Barn, although scenic and quite beautiful, further deteriorated the stone walls. Vines create areas where moisture can collect on the sides of the walls and cause cracking. On many areas of the walls, the vines have actually grown into compromised mortar.

The vines growing on the hay barn are certainly beautiful, but they also compromise the structural integrity.

The vines growing on the hay barn are certainly beautiful, but they also compromise the building’s structural integrity.

There are two species of vines on the hay barn – Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata, and Trumpet Vine, Campas radicans, The Boston Ivy is non-native, although an early photograph show that it was planted next to the building.

The goal of this historic restoration project is to ensure the structural integrity of the Hay Barn for the next 100+ years.

The first step of this restoration will be removal of all of the vines and power washing the structure to remove accumulated dirt and loose mortar. Duke Farms will then be working with a masonry contractor who specializes in historic restoration to “re-point” the stone work. Re-pointing will entail removing missing, loose and compromised mortar and re-adhering the stones to each other using new mortar. The mortar will be colored to match the historic color of the mortar on the Hay Barn. The next step in the restoration process will be to install a layer of pre-fabricated concrete coping on the top. This coping will overhang the walls and be sloped so as to shed the water and act like a mini-roof by preventing infiltration of water and snow accumulation on the top of the wall. Finally, we will be re-landscaping the area with native flowering plants. We anticipate this project will take at least six weeks to complete.

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4 Responses to Hay Barn Restoration Project

  1. Christine Jensen says:

    Thank you so much for taking on this important work but please don’t get rid of the peonies! I love them. Will you move them to a new home somewhere on the property?

  2. Christine Jensen says:

    No, I don’t mean the trumpet vine. I loathe trumpet vine. I mean the peonies that line the outside of the Hay Barn, facing Central Way.

  3. dukefarms says:

    Hi Christine – I spoke with our Director of Natural Resources and he said that they are dead heading the peonies and covering them with a protective cage and cloth. They will be back!

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