I think the fight to retain the barn in place was worth the effort and forced serious consideration of agricultural heritage. To me one of the most important lessons learned was that we must work to persuade councillors and the general public that agricultural landscapes are worthy recipients of heritage designations – not just an individual building but a landscape that expresses the history of our rural roots.
These should be contained within the urban context so that our agricultural roots become an everyday reminder of our past and don’t require a special visit to a place dedicated to agriculture. There is, or should be, a place for both in the design of our towns and cities.
In both recent heritage cases (Bradley’s General Store and Bradley-Craig farmstead) I was involved in, it was the lack of desire on the part of the owner of the property to put any effort or money into retaining the properties that was the biggest stumbling block to keeping them.
I don’t have any immediate solutions to this problem, but it certainly bears thinking about when it comes to thinking about how to protect rural heritage. Perhaps it should begin with raising consciousness that protection of rural heritage is just as valid a goal as urban heritage.
Past President, Goulbourn Township Historical Society