We recently drove by one of the Ohio Bicentennial barns along State Highway 2 between Toledo and Port Clinton.
Ohio's Bicentennial Commission conceived the barn project as a unique way to advertise the state's 200th year as a state in 2003. Seven years later, this Ottawa County barn still stands as a reminder of the anniversary, and it got me wondering how many other Ohio Bicentennial barns are still standing.
Scott Hagan was barely 20 years old when someone with the Ohio Bicentennial Commission saw a picture of a barn painted with an Ohio Buckeye logo, and the group began to consider a statewide project with barns in every one of Ohio's 88 counties painted with the state's bicentennial logo.
The Buckeye-logo barn in question belonged to the Hagan family, and the son who painted their barn soon found himself with a new career as a barn artist.
Scott Hagan lived near renowned Mail Pouch Barn artist Harley Warrick in Belmont County, Ohio. The young barn artist talked with Warrick, who taught him some of the secrets of the craft of barn painting before he died in 2000 at the age of 86.
Hagan began the Ohio barn project in 1997, sketching each logo freehand before hand painting each barn. He painted the 88 barns, one in each county, plus a dozen more barns to make it an even 100 painted barns by late 2002.
Hagan used 100 paintbrushes, 645 gallons of paint and put 65,000 miles on his truck as he traveled from barn to barn throughout those five years. And no two barns are exactly alike.
This particular barn is actually the second barn painted in Ottawa County. A tornado blew through and destroyed the first barn when it was nearly finished.
Today, Hagan estimates his painted barns as numbering well over 300 barns in 14 states. His new goal is to paint at least one barn in every state.
Travelers who enjoy waymarking (a hobby similar to geocaching, except there is no physical cache involved) can record a find at this barn.
Looking for more information about the project and surviving Bicentennial barns? Check out the Bicentennial Barns of Ohio Facebook page.
You might also enjoy these books about the Ohio barns:
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