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Historic Oberlin barn gets new home

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    The pieces of the Johnson House barn will be reconstructed at a new park on Route 20 in Oberlin.



OBERLIN — The historic Johnson House barn has been moved from Oberlin College’s campus to its new home at the Lorain County Metro Parks’ newest park off of U.S. Route 20, just west of state Route 58 in Oberlin.

The Johnson House, 216 Professor St., was built in 1885 by Albert Johnson and his wife. In 1911, it was purchased by Charles Martin Hall and donated to Oberlin College. It is the second-oldest residence hall on campus, housing the Hebrew Heritage students.

The barn was donated with the property but not frequently used by the college. It wanted to preserve the history of the barn, as it was reportedly used as a house by a freed slave, according to Lorain County Metro Parks director Jim Ziemnik.

The college and park district decided to move the barn off Oberlin College’s campus, to a new park about a mile and a half away. One of the deciding factors to move the almost-150-year-old barn was a lack of parking on the campus.

The new 11-acre park, which has not been named, was donated by Kathleen Nord to the county park system. It is scheduled to open around Easter. As of this week, the barn has been dismantled and moved to its new site. The project is being done by Star Design Build Contractors.

There were no major problems in the barn’s move. The most difficult part, according to Ziemnik, was the roof, but workers reinforced areas that had rotted to ensure safety.

“It all went very smoothly,” Ziemnik. said.

“There was a big push to get it done before school started up again. We didn’t want to be moving this big barn around students and parents.”

The Metro Parks plans to make the barn an education and entertainment venue for Oberlin. Ziemnik said the parks system plans to use the barn to educate parkgoers about its history.

It also will be used as a music venue and for art displays as well as private events such as weddings and birthdays.

Contact Elise St. Esprit at 329-7243 or

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