Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 1, 2013

Aug. 4, 2013: Letters to the editor

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Area’s early barns are disappearing

The large, picturesque barn on the Legg family farm, 1 mile north of Windfall, at what used to be known as Byron Legg Corner, is no more.

A landmark structure since 1903, the building was dismantled last spring, and this year all that remains are the stones of its basement foundation. It was taken down by barn expert Ed Walker of Frankton. And the tools he used to get it down? A 7-foot stepladder, a hammer, saw, crowbar and his truck!

Built by farmer and auctioneer W.C. Legg, the bank barn was a horse barn until 1929, when Byron Legg began a dairy operation there known as Hill-Crest Farm Dairy. At that time the silo that still stands was constructed behind the barn, and ventilators were placed on top of the roof to extend down into the basement and provide more air movement for the dairy herd. The cows were milked three times a day, but the dairy ceased operations with the death of Byron Legg in 1947.

In 1936 a farm seeds operation was established using the barn, and today the seed business continues as Legg Seeds in a modern facility on the other side of the farmhouse.

The barn measured 42 feet by 70 feet and was upwards of 50-feet high, the tallest barn Ed Walker has yet taken down. It took him six weeks starting in mid-April of last year to get the structure down to the stone foundation. He saved many of the sawn oak, elm and poplar beams. All of the wood used in the barn was obtained from standing timber on the farm. The slate roof was saved, as were many of the 58 windows positioned throughout the barn.

A hay track powered by an electric motor was salvaged, sans the motor. Lightning rods were kept, but metal stanchions in the basement and an early manure handling device consisting of metal buckets pushed along a track were not. Rocks that were heated and split to shape and used to build the basement walls will be sold to a Hamilton County landscaper. Some of the barn beams will go out to Kansas with a family relative to be made into guitars.

When it was built the barn had fancy-sawn siding and roof brackets, wood cresting at the peak of each end of the roof, and two dormers on each side of the roof. It was quite a showplace in its day. W.C. Legg died in 1926.

Steve Legg, current owner of the property, said a glass bottle used in the dairy business was found in the barn, as well as a Blatz Beer bottle of the same era. His late father, Sidney Legg, had told him that in the Great Depression of the 1930s the Blatz bottles were also used as milk bottles and filled with milk. Of course, the Blatz bottles had to be emptied first — somehow!

It was with mixed emotions that Steve Legg authorized the destruction of his great-grandfather’s barn. But it was a practical and necessary decision. Estimates for just stabilizing the barn were prohibitive, and it was no longer valuable to the farm. He couldn’t put any equipment of any size or weight on the wooden main floor, and the barn was built for hand labor, and wasn’t arranged right to lend itself to any modern function.

Mainly for those reasons these barns are fast disappearing from the farm landscape. Planned and built for another time, a time that has passed, they are no longer viable to today’s farm. But once upon a time the Legg barn and others stood high and proud on the farms, and were the hub of life to the operation.

Jeff Hatton


The good, the bad and the very ugly

I live in the Chippendale subdivision in Howard County, in the State of Indiana, in the wonderful country of the United States of America. This alone, gives me the right to speak for and stand up for my rights.

I can take six steps from my property line and I am in Tipton County. I have the very unpleasant possibility of having an industrial wind turbine 1,250 feet from my front door. This gives me the right to have a say in what someone else is trying to force me to live with. I happen to like being able to look out my front door and see nothing but cornfields, trees, animals playing in my yard, and low flying airplanes as they land and takeoff from one of the three runways around me.

Concerning industrial wind turbines:

The good: Once in awhile they produce “green energy” like they are supposed to do; otherwise, the only “green” is the money going into the leaseholders’ and the wind company’s pockets.

The bad: They are not very cost effective because they cost so much to build. They do not have a positive return on investment, except for the few who are benefiting. They are even costing some businesses a loss of revenue due to people not supporting businesses that support wind farms.

The very ugly: The worst part is that they are splitting families, pitting neighbor against neighbor, and tearing counties and communities apart. They are encouraging and increasing people’s distrust of local governments. They will be the ugliest of reminders of the atrocities committed against our counties’ citizens!

Finally I would like to address the Howard County commissioners, the Tipton County commissioners, other county commissioners that might be reading this, and all residents of these counties.

If you allow industrial wind turbines into our counties, then anywhere they exist, you can’t build any more homes or businesses because you would be violating the agreement with the wind company. Thus you will only be able to use the homes and buildings that already exist. Will those structures be sufficient 20, 25 or 30 years from now?

So, commissioners, unless you have a fantastic crystal ball that will tell you exactly what the future will be and that the economy won’t decline in the next 30 years, how are you going to diversify, and what are you going to do to entice these businesses and families into our areas? What are you going to be able to offer them that is different from today? You will have effectively land-locked our counties and communities for the life of the agreement!

Jerry Eads