Maryland Tobacco Barn, previous recipient of Save America's Treasures grant funding.

Saving and Reusing Historic Barns in Maryland

11/01/2015
By Meagan Baco

Barns are highly recognizable structures throughout rural Maryland, but as their intended purpose has largely disappeared their function and futures are in question. Barn-specific funding has dried-up, but there may be other programs you can use to support barn preservation.

Over ten years ago, owners of tobacco barns in Southern Maryland were given an opportunity to stave off collapse and repair and repurpose their historic barns with funds from the Maryland Tobacco Barn Restoration Fund. With that program and the federal Save America’s Treasures program, Preservation Maryland managed the allocation of over $200,000 to 35 owners for repairs in five Southern Maryland counties.

Good work stalled when funding stopped in 2010. Preservation Maryland is the leading advocate for reinstating and increasing State preservation funding, and you can learn more on our Advocacy page. The disappearance of tobacco barns is a visual reminder of the need for dedicated capital funding for preservation in Maryland. 

Preservation Maryland receives phone calls and emails about historic barns regularly and are able to offer the following suggestions for recognition, repairs, and perhaps, funding. If additional assistance is needed, please contact our Director of Preservation Services, Margaret De Arcangelis.

GENERAL RESOURCES

Adaptive Reuse of Maryland Tobacco Barns
Calvert County, Maryland

Maryland Tobacco Barn Contractors List
Preservation Maryland and the Southern Maryland Tobacco Barns Preservation Initiative

State of Tobacco Barns of Southern Maryland
Teresa Wilson, Historic Preservation Planner, St. Mary’s County

Historic Barns: Working Assets for Sustainable Farms
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Barn Repair & Rehabilitation Toolbox
National Barn Alliance

Introduction to Federal Tax Credits for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings: Barns
National Park Service

Preservation Brief 20: The Preservation of Historic Barns
National Park Service

PRIVATELY-OWNED BARNS

Privately-owned barns may already be or can be listed on local, county, Maryland, and/or federal inventories of historic properties. A great place to start for that type of information is the Maryland Historical Trust’s Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties.

Privately-owned barns are likely not eligible for grant funds for preservation or restoration, however, if the barn is used as a residence or for a commercial venture, it may be eligible for tax credits. Check your eligibility at the following:

ORGANIZATION-OWNED BARNS

Barns that are owned by non-profit organizations may be eligible for grant funding from the state, Preservation Maryland, and other preservation organizations.

HOW OTHER STATES DO IT

Meagan Baco · Director of Communications

Meagan Baco shares the stories of the Old Line State’s important history and unique places – and the people working to preserve it, through Preservation Maryland’s website and publications.

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