This month we celebrate another barn that is both listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register and recently received a Heritage Barn Rehabilitation Grant. The Lawson Farm Barn is a well known and loved icon in the San Juan Island landscape; it is probably one of the most photographed, drawn, and painted barns in the islands. Located on West Valley Road near the newly-established Mount Grant Preserve, the building is sited on a hillside that overlooks a distant view of San Juan Valley.
The Lawson Farm Barn has sheds on three sides that form a distinctive ‘gable-on-hip’ roof type. It is oriented east-west and built into the slope so as to take advantage of the embankment to form different floor levels. The main hay mow under the gable is 30′ wide by 52′ long, and 36′ high. It has a ventilator as well as a wood hay rail with steel hay trolley, a rare example of a central hay system (i.e., without a hay door and hood) in the islands. Each of the sheds is 20′ wide, with the west one being whitewashed and containing 10 stanchions for milk cows.
The farm was purchased by Alfred Lawson in 1909, so the barn was probably constructed around that time. He and his wife Esther quitclaimed it to their son Gilbert in 1941, and he and his family farmed the property for many years, raising dairy and beef cattle, sheep, hogs, and chickens.
With the aid of their Heritage Barn Rehabilitation Grant, the owners are currently restoring the barn as well as the adjacent granary and milk house. The 100 Friends of Old Island Barns applauds the work of owners such as these who keep our historic barns as part of our living legacy!