HISTORIC BARN LOST 2022
Dear friends and customers-
Yesterday afternoon, Thursday 4/14, The Siebenthaler Company lost a piece of its history and tradition. The large white barn at our Beavercreek nursery caught fire and burnt to the ground. Long time container growing manager Abby Shroyer and her son Wil saw smoke in the basement of the barn just after 4:00. By the time the firefighters arrived shortly after, the blaze was beyond control. Although fires are still emerging as I write this 16 hours later, the majority of the barn was completely burnt through in mere minutes.
Although the barn played an important role in the day-to-day business operations here at Siebenthaler’s, the real loss was in the history and craftsmanship of the barn. I’m not sure how old the barn was, but the farmhouse next to it is dated 1812. In those days, it was common to build a barn first and then a farmhouse after the farm is operating and functional. No matter the date, we do know that the timber used for the barn were milled up the hill within eyesight of the barn. The barn was built with mortise and tenon construction techniques which is an almost lost system of building without nails. The barn was a 2-story bank barn, meaning that an earthen ramp on one side allowed for “ground floor” access to both levels of the barn. And the entire building had a beautiful slate roof, impervious to all the elements other than fire.
The barn was being used to store materials essential for the growing and harvesting of trees and shrubs. Pots, burlap, straw, pine straw, irrigation supplies, deer guards and more were all lost. The biggest material loss was most of the bare root plants being stored in the cool humid basement of the barn awaiting planting out for this year and next year’s tree and shrub inventory. Although this represents only a small fraction of our plant inventory, it will add a slight complication to an already difficult supply chain.
Although the cause of the fire is currently undetermined, we are assuming the fire was caused by an electrical issue. The first instance of flames occurred where an electrical line ran from the barn to a nearby light pole and was in an area of the basement populated with relatively nonflammable materials made of plastic and pvc. Certainly unofficial, but is our best guess.
The best news is that no one was hurt. Our plants are great, but our people are what make us the best at what we do. We still have what makes us special. Although I can’t promise we’ll be around for another 152 years, I certainly can promise that we will still be able to meet Miami Valley’s needs as your home town plant experts this spring and for many springs to come. I look forward to seeing you all in our garden centers and on landscape jobsites this year. Happy Gardening and thank you for your continued patronage, it means a lot to a local family business like ours.
Robert J Siebenthaler
President- The Siebenthaler Company
274-1154 x 204