State Rep. Gretchen Driskell Honors the City of Saline and Saline Area Historical Society for the partnership that helped the Rentschler Farm Museum reach major milestones in 2013. Driskell presented tributes, signed by Gov. Snyder, to the city and historical society at Monday's council meeting.
The big red barn at the Rentschler Farm Museum was picked as one of five 2013 Barns of the Year by the Michigan Barn Preservation Network. The 90-by-44-foot barn was built in the 1860s. The Rentschler barn was picked as an example of "non-profit agricultural and adaptive use."
And, after many years and hard work by several volunteers, the Rentschler Farmstead was named to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 2013.The Rentschler family worked the property for ninety-seven years, from 1901-1998, when the remainder of the farm was sold to the city. The Rentschlers raised cattle, dairy cows, sheep, pigs and chickens and grew grains, corn, oats and hay to feed them.
Dean Greb, President of the Saline Area Historical Society, said the society appreciated the support of Driskell, Mayor Marl, Saline City Council, City Manager Todd Campbell and DPW Director Jeff Fordice and his staff. Greb said members of the Saline Area Historical Society and its board of directors also deserve credit.
“Without this public/private partnership with the city, this could never have been accomplished,” Greb said.
Greb said past-president Wayne Clements was instrumental in starting the process to have the barn nominated for “Barn of the Year” and farmstead placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Former society president and current city councillor David Rhoads was also credited for keeping the momentum going. Historical Society member Kathy Fortner's first proposal to have the Rentschler Barn considered as one of the “Barns of the Year” was rejected.
“The first year it was not accepted. They came back and accepted it the second year, which was a great surprise and delightful for us,” Greb said. “Lots of people donated their time and treasure to help us.”
Ted Micah, the Barn Doctor, was lauded for his work to restore the barn and replace the rotted wood. In recent years, the barn has been home to performances by the Saline Area Players. Movie scenes were also shot in the barn.
Greb credited Cynthia Christensen for her work on the application to finally placed the Rentschler Farmstead on the National Register of Historic Places.
Driskell also recognized the city for its commitment to preserving historical landmark.
“It's a very important part of our heritage,” Driskell said. “In juxtaposition to the old Ford plant, it's a great visual of the history of the City of Saline and community of Saline.”
Driskell noted the city's seal references the city's agricultural and manufacturing history.
Mayor Marl thanked Driskell for taking time to recognize the important milestones and complimented the historical society volunteers for the work they do to maintain the museum.
“Rentschler Farmstead is a symbol. It's not just a symbol of our agricultural heritage, but I think it's a great icon to see when you enter the corporate limits of the City of Saline,” Marl said. “It is a city-owned park. But it wouldn't be the icon it is today if it were not for all of you and all of your man hours, all of your financial resources, all of the passion you devote to the facility. I just want to say thank you. It's greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work.”
The Rentschler Farm Musuem is located at 1265 E Michigan Ave. The Farm House is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment. For more information call 769-2219 or visit www.salinehistory.org.