Last spring the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau sponsored a historic barn mural painting project and the residents of Sandusky County were encouraged to submit their barns for consideration. After months of review and artwork designing, the painting of the first barn murals were completed last month.
Scott Hagan, also known as “The Barn Artist,” is painting the murals and is best known for the Ohio Bicentennial Barns he painted in all 88 counties in 2003. Scott also completed the Rutherford B. Hayes barn that was a joint project between the Ohio History Connection and the Ohio Turnpike which is located on Fangboner Road, just outside of Fremont.
David Thornbury, a graphic designer and marketing specialist for the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCCVB) wanted the barns to symbolize something historical that each town is known for. With that in mind he designed a 9/11 tribute as well as a commemoration for the Battle of Fort Stephenson and “Old Betsy.”
The 9/11 barn with elements of the Public Safety Service Memorial in Gibsonburg was dedicated on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. One interesting spin on the Gibsonburg barn’s location is the strange connection it has with 9/11/2001. When members of the SCCVB reviewed the submitted applications from all around Sandusky County they spotted a beautiful white Centennial Barn located at the corner of SR 600 and CR 32. It was not a barn that was submitted for review but they knew immediately this was the right location.
They walked up and knocked on the door and proposed the idea to Mary and Wayne Groweg, the owners of the barn and they were interested immediately. When they told Mary about the proposed 9/11 theme she immediately said if you make the barn a 9/11 theme, you have to put a tribute to Teresa Martin-Miller, of Woodville on there. She was killed on 9/11 when the plane struck the Pentagon and it just so happened, her brother was delivering wood sheeting for a roofing project that was underway on our barn on 9/11 and he was sitting on a forklift when he got the news Teresa was missing.
The SCCVB was able to meet Mary’s request with a tribute to Teresa Martin-Miller and also found out that a second Woodville Native was on Flight 93 and was killed in the plane that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11 so both Sandusky County natives were incorporated into this historic barn mural that had now turned into a memorial barn.
Additional Barns are being planned. The second barn is located on Christy Road in Fremont. It also features a mural designed by David Thornbury at the SCCVB. It commemorates the Battle of Fort Stephenson and “Old Betsy”, the cannon that Major George Croghan used to fend off the British and the Indians in the War of 1812.
Additional Barns will begin again next spring with locations in Woodville, Clyde and Bellevue planned.
The SCCVB is seeking corporate sponsorships for the barn paintings. The Battle of Fort Stephenson Barn was sponsored by Fremont Federal Credit Union.
To learn more about the historic barn paintings, contact the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau.