From On Common Ground News.
Following a month of work, stabilization of historic Vaughters’ Barn – the iconic white-painted structure located off of Klondike Road in the city of Stonecrest – is complete. The building required significant renovations to fix years of wear and tear, the result of aging materials and the elements. Now that construction has finished, the Barn and meadow loop trail are once again available for hikers and photographers.
Vaughters’ Barn is surrounded by more than 140 acres of former dairy pasture that now serves as wildlife habitat. DeKalb County was at one point the biggest dairy producer in the state of Georgia, and this tract of land was part of a sprawling agricultural economy. Owned by S. B. Vaughters, the barn held cows and horses for most of the 20th century. As most of the surrounding landscape was filled with development, Vaughters sought a different future for his land. “Nearly all the rest of DeKalb County is covered up with homes and businesses…I didn’t want that here,” he told the Atlanta Journal Constitutionin 2002. He sold his farm, including the barn and family home, to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources that same year; the land is now managed as part of Panola Mountain State Park. The barn, which sits adjacent to Klondike Road and the Arabia Mountain PATH trail, is a central feature of the AMNHA and a popular spot for photographs. (Please note that commercial photography requires a permit from park rangers.
Prior to the recent renovation, the walls and roof of the barn were bowing outwards and parts of the building had sustained significant water damage. Workers repaired the interior, replaced windows, braced the roof and made other repairs throughout the month of November. The restoration was completed in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance, the nonprofit arm of the AMNHA.
Now that the building is again secure, it will be used as an educational resource for people to learn about the history of DeKalb County. Included in the renovation is the ability to bring guided tours inside the barn, something that was not possible before, and interpretive signage.
“Vaughters’ Barn is a key feature of Arabia Mountain NHA, and we are looking forward to further educating visitors about the natural and human history of this former farm,” said Mera Cardenas, executive director of the Arabia Alliance.