‘Barns of Carver County’ calendar benefits local communities

A3-BarnCalendarCMYKSince 2006, local photographer Ruth Tremblay has been traveling Carver County’s backroads documenting the areas historic barns. Over the last seven years she has photographed over 250 of the aging landmarks.
“There are so many that I have yet to photograph and sadly many have been lost to severe weather, fire and disrepair before I had the chance to document them,” said Tremblay, noting it’s very costly to keep the barns in good condition. A fresh coat of paint or a new roof can cost several thousand dollars.
“It is unfortunate that all of them cannot be saved and I applaud the barn owners that have taken on the mammoth task of maintaining their barn. Farming was the principle occupation in Carver County for over 100 years and that is why I believe it is imperative to create a permanent record of these vanishing, historical landmarks that represent Carver County’s agrarian roots,” she said.
Ruth collects the property data needed for her historical research by using old plat maps that date back to 1880 and the Carver County online GIS mapping application. Once she establishes the ownership of the property she combs old newspaper articles and obituaries available at the Carver County Historical Society to gather the historical information she uses to write the captions for the “Barns of Carver County” calendar.
This is the sixth year the “Barns of Carver County” calendar has been published. The calendar features 12 of her barn photographs with accompanying historical text.
Over the last year she has been working on a “Barns of Carver County” self-guided barn tour kit. The tour allows folks the opportunity to view a large selection of barns and set their own pace. It is designed so that families can go on an inexpensive historical adventure and each person can take an active part in the barn tour.
The barn tour kit includes a map with 44 barn locations, 2012 and 2013 barn calendars with historical text and a laminated barn quick reference guide.
The kit also includes a “Barns of Carver County Field Guide” that offers information about the various types of barns and the era they were built along with detailed descriptions of the various farm buildings, cupolas and silos.
The calendars can be  purchased for $15 through KleinBank locations in Carver County and St. Bonifacius, Mackenthun’s Fine Foods in Waconia, Watertown Pharmacy, Mayer Lumber Company in Mayer, At the Farm Organic Farmers Market, Frost & Steam Coffee House and Ice Cream Parlor, Diva Dog, Premiere Apparel, and Who’s on First? all of Waconia.
The self-guided barn tour kit is available for $25 at Mackenthun’s Fine Foods and Watertown Pharmacy.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from the calendar sales and 10 percent of the retail price of the barn tour kits will be donated to Carver County food shelves and Mary’s Wish (www.maryswish.org). Calendars and barn tour kits are also available online at www.barnsofcarvercounty.com or contact (952) 442-2308.