Historic Barn

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

One local woman is preserving and living in a precious piece of Rockford's history, a 120-year-old barn on Rockford's eastside.

In 2002, Sally Truitt moved into a home she had been admiring for years.

"I was just drawn to the barn--it's such an amazing structure and in 2002 in went to auction in Chicago and that's when I bought it," says Truitt.

The barn was raised in 1886 but over the years, it had fallen into major disrepair. Although the ravages of time and development had taken a toll on the 6,000 square foot structure, Sally was determined to restore a vibrant spirit in the old treasure.

"A structure of this age. There is no simple project; needed all new plumbing, all new electric," says Truitt.

The barn was completely gutted and it took a year of renovations and upgrades to transform the barn into what it is today but throughout the restoration process, the barn's personality, the details that define the idyllic structure, like the peg and post construction, the grain rooms and the silo, were consciously preserved.

"I love the horse stalls, the barn doors which serve as the closet doors in the home, the original hayloft, the open beams," says Truitt.

The original hayrack, ropes and pulleys are still in place 45 feet above. Changing a light bulb does present a problem. In order to change a bulb, Sally has to rent scaffolding and hire a handyman. But she says it's all worth it.

"I just feel fortunate to live in it right now; it's the community's to share; I won't be here forever, and I'll pass it on to someone else," says Truitt.

Sally's grown to love the creaking of the barn and the sounds and sights, she says, take her back to a different time, evoking a feeling of nostalgia that brings along a sense of contentment.

"It's my refuge; I just admire it, the sheer volume. I sit in awe of the property; it's just awesome," says Truitt.

So amid an evolving culture, this barn quietly sits. But within the confines of the structure lay walls ridden with history that will now be preserved for years to come.


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