The complete restoration of a rural Pipestone barn has earned it top honors in an annual competition recognizing the state's barn of the year in the farm-use division.

David and Marlyce Logan have owned their barn and farm since December 2007, purchasing it from Jack and Nadine Sturdevant, who had called the place home since 1968. In June 2008, the couple began a total restoration of the barn, removing all of the exterior tin and wood, the asphalt shingles and the wood casement windows. The Barn Doctors of rural Fulda, Minn., were hired to complete the monumental project.

"The barn, when we bought the place, had just regular asphalt shingles and it had been sided with tin in later years," David said. "As many barns do, the siding gets kind of rotten and gets holes in it.

"It was still a sturdy barn, it wasn't dilapidated," he added. "It certainly needed some attention."

The Logans had also noticed a bit of shifting in the building, so they had the barn straightened before the restoration work. Once that was completed, they brought in all-new boards for the siding, vinyl casement windows and wood shingles.

"Everything is pretty much restored to its original state," Logan said.

A promise to take care of barn

When the Logans purchased the farm, they had no intention of tearing the barn down and building new. In fact, Marlyce Logan had made a promise to the Sturdevant family that she would take care of the barn.

The barn was the second one built on the farm. The first, constructed in the early 1900s, was destroyed by fire in February 1931. When the barn was rebuilt, it stood on the same foundation and was expanded slightly.

There had been a story about the fire in the Pipestone County Star back in 1931, said David Logan. The paper included a photo of the original structure, which the Logans used as a guide during the restoration of the second barn.

"It looks pretty much like what the first barn looked like," said David Logan, adding that they even brought back the star that had graced the haymow for so many years.

David Logan said the star on the barn "became kind of a landmark. People would use it [as reference] for directions."

Aside from the star, other unique features of the barn include the original cupolas and small glass balls on the lightning rods, and an extremely large haymow.

"The haymow is just gigantic," David Logan said. "Even people who grow up on a farm come in and say, 'Wow.' I don't know why anyone would have built one that big."

According to one story he'd heard, 17,000 square bales were put up in the haymow one summer, and still it hardly made a dent in the available space.

Today, the Logans use the barn primarily for their horses. The main level features three horse stalls and sliding doors that access an outside corral.

They also raise cattle, which are moved to another farm over the winter, and have used the barn in the past for sheep production. They also store hay upstairs.

The non-farm use barn of the year award went to Carl and Wanda Erickson's rural Hawley barn, while runners-up in the second annual contest were barns owned by LeRoy Grewe of Gaylord, Mike and Jean Kauffmann of Arlington, Gary and Marjory Becker of Marshall, and Ruth Miller of Buffalo. In all, 61 barns from 36 counties across the state competed for the top honors in the contest sponsored by the Friends of Minnesota Barns.

All of the winning barns are featured in a calendar available at www.friendsofminnesotabarns.org.