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IAHC Announces Herschberger-Miller Barn Raising Event for October

Herschberger-Miller Barn. On Friday, September 23 at 4 p.m., the IAHC will be hosting a public groundbreaking for site prep of this historical barn.

The Herschberger-Miller barn, that was originally constructed three miles west of Arthur, Illinois in 1879, was dismantled by Firmitas, formerly Trillium Dell Timber Works, in spring of 2022. The intricate process raised massive media coverage in the region because the barn was not only being removed from its original site, but, the 143-year structure was tagged, labeled, dismantled piece by piece, and will be relocated, refurbished, and rebuilt at its new home, Illinois Amish Heritage Center (IAHC), located between Arcola and Arthur, on Illinois Route 133.

On Friday, September 23rd at 4 p.m., the IAHC will be hosting a public groundbreaking for site prep of this historical barn. The unique event will feature a horse drawn slip scraper for breaking the ground which was very common during the era of the original barn usage.

A two-day public Barn Raising is scheduled for Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. One of the biggest attractions is the rare opportunity for attendees to witness a partial hand-raising of the barn, which hasn’t happened in over 100 years in Central Illinois.

Other events on the Illinois Amish Heritage campus will include pioneer and Amish-based activities such as blacksmithing, glass blowing, rope making, Kiddie Tractor Pull, petting zoo, pony cart rides and more. Additionally, local Amish favorites will be made and sold onsite such as fresh apple cider, popcorn, ice cream and more. The food tent will also be serving an authentic German breakfast, and other food vendors will be available.

For more information, call Cassie Yoder (217) 254-4012. Also, look for the Illinois Amish Heritage Center at www.illinoisamish.org and on Facebook.

Additional Information
About the Barn:

This large, five-bay, Pennsylvania-style barn features the typical forebay overhang on the east side, and a drive-in threshing floor on the west side. On the lower level are stalls for six draft horses, pens for various livestock, and the milking bay along with grain and feed bins. The upper level is open for hay and grain storage.

The barn was dismantled in February and the timbers were shipped to the facilities of Trillium Dell Timber Works, now Firmatas, in Galesburg, Illinois for restoration or replacement as needed. A traditional barn-raising is planned for the fall. This will be coordinated by Firmatas staff and involve interested public and Amish from the local as well as other Amish areas. The framework will go up first followed by the roof rafters and roof and then the siding. The interior of the restored barn will include the original grain bins, stalls, and other features from the original barn.

The addition of a working livestock barn at the IAHC will allow the site to feature various types of farm animals and farming activities related to them. This will bring the site one step closer to an envisioned Amish living history farm.

Once restored, this barn will allow visitors to experience traditional care and feeding of livestock and horses, and grain threshing and feed storage, along with other traditional farming practices. It will also be used as a horse hotel, to attract visitors with horses that would then stay at local hotels and bed & breakfasts. Animals for demonstrations, viewing and a petting zoo will also be housed in the barn.

Tourism to IAHC and the Area:

The Arthur Area Association of Commerce reports that annually over 200,000 visitors from all 50 states and an average of 50 foreign countries travel to Arthur, Illinois (population 2,300), home of the state’s largest and oldest Old Order Amish Settlement of 4,500 Amish living in the surrounding area. Located just 9 miles west of Interstate 57, IAHC is easily accessible, and within a 50 miles range, cities include Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Mattoon, Charleston, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Danville, Lincoln, Effingham, Tuscola, Arcola, Taylorville, Sullivan, and Terre Haute, Indiana.

Specifically, IAHC draws visitors from across the nation, bringing tourist dollars to Illinois. A review of 2589 individuals or families completing IAHC registration cards demonstrate that 45% of those visitors reside out of the State of Illinois. IAHC is also beginning to attract visitors from other countries, including France and Japan.

Within a 50- mile radius of Arthur there are 111,000 students in grades K-12, attending 370 public schools. It is anticipated that the IAHC will be a prime field trip for public schools to send busloads of students, chaperoned by teachers and parents, to see

Amish culture come alive, encouraging families to return for festivals, events, and demonstrations.

Located within a 30 miles driving distance there are 72 hotels and lodgings, with 5,836 guest rooms that will benefit from expanded programs, demonstrations, festivals, weddings, and events that are predicted to draw overnight visitors, attracted by the addition of the two historic barns and demonstration agriculture field.

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