Swaner seeks to preserve Wallin Barn | ParkRecord.com

Swaner seeks to preserve Wallin Barn

The Wallin Barn, located on the Hans O. Young Ranch, at 5683 S.R. 224, is part of the Swaner EcoCenter and Preserve.

The conservation organization is preparing the iconic white barn, which sits on protected land, for a massive remodel that will begin with new exterior paint and a new roof.

When the outside is done, the restoration project will move to the barn’s inside, said Jon Paulding, executive director of the Swaner EcoCenter and Preserve.

"We would love to restore the farm into a usable facility for dances and events and that will take significant funding," Paulding said. "In the meantime, we are just trying to restore the exterior of the barn. It needs to be painted and it needs a new roof, and new windows.

"We would tear the shingles off and replace the wood under the roof, which would strengthen the structure and then put a metal roof on it," he said. "We would then totally paint it and preserve the outside."

The overall project will require just under $100,000.

"We have already had some help from the Sunrise Rotary Club and a few foundations and individuals, but we still need another $30,000 to do it right. We would love to have any help in funding so we can restore it."

Unfortunately, the restoration progress has been hindered by vandalism.

All the barn’s glass windows were broken by small rocks and when those were replaced with Lexan, a thick plastic, which is deemed unbreakable, someone took a larger rock and broke out not only the Lexan on one of the west-facing windows, but the window frame, last week, Paulding said.

"It will take probably $200 to $300 to repair each window, because the whole frame needs to be replaced," he explained.. "And there was also some other minor vandalism on the property as well.

"It’s frustrating for us as a nonprofit organization because we raise money to redo something like the windows and then have them immediately broken," Paulding said. "This is a historic property and we would love to have the community help take care of it and embrace it."

So far, carpenters have installed new doors, but to really start the process, the barn needs to be pressure washed. Plans have been put on hold, though, because of the barn swallows who have built nests in the outside nooks of the structure.

"We’re waiting until the their chicks fledge before we begin the project," Paulding said.

The Wallin Farm, including the barn, which was built in 1933, was acquired by the Swaner EcoCenter and Preserve in the late 1990s, Paulding said.

"The farm was originally owned by the Kimball family, which Kimball Junction was named after, and the Wallins were the last family to actively dairy farm here," he said. "As the surrounding area developed, people began taking issue with having cows in the open and the odors that accompanied the animals."

So, the Wallin family looked to sell the farm.

"Since it was a pretty significant and historic piece of property, we at the Swaner wanted to preserve it," Paulding said. "It’s now under a conservation easement, which means, the land is can never be developed."

The easement is owned by Utah Open Lands, which is similar to the Summit Land Conservancy.

"Representatives come out periodically to make sure we’re maintaining the land for ecological purposes correctly," Paulding explained. "They make sure we don’t graze the property with cattle or anything like that.

"The property is on a more flexible easement, which allows us to do some work to the building and will allow us to use the property for some programming and revenue," he said. "My dream is to finish it rustically so we can have events in here like weddings and barn dances and hold some educational programs."

The barn sits on a seven of the 1,200 acres that comprised the Swaner Preserve, Paulding said.

"As far as the property goes, we own all the outbuildings, including the historic ranch house, where one of our staff members lives," he said. "We would like to do some things to the fence that follows the Basin Recreation’s trail that runs in front of the barn.

"We would like to do some cut outs and put in some benches and install some interpretive panels that tell about the history of the property that will include the Native Americans, the Mormon Pioneers and what Swaner is doing now," Paulding said. "We would partner with Basin Recreation with that and even put in some drinking fountains so people who are using the trail can take a break."

The Wallin Barn, along with the McPolin Barn located a few miles up the street, captures the attention of the Park City residences and visitors, according to Paulding.

"We put our lights up during the holidays and if we don’t, we get calls from people who are asking where the lights are," he said with a smile. "It’s one of the last big barns in Park City left and we would like to do a good job to restore it."

For more information about the Wallin Barn restoration project or to donate to the cause, contact Jon Paulding at the Swaner EcoCenter by calling (435) 252-3575 or emailing jon.paulding@usu.edu.