The Village of Franklin has an unofficial slogan: “The town that time forgot.” This photo essay explores how the villagers are working to keep that history intact through restoring and reusing the town’s many barns.
While the barn wood home décor craze has seen outbuildings around Michigan torn down and stripped for their materials, the residents of Franklin have taken a different approach. With limited land available for new businesses in the historic township, many retail stores have renovated and repurposed old barns, giving them a new life and adding charm to the village. Joe Powers photographs five historic barns worth a closer look.
FRANKLIN ROAD “VAN EVERY STABLE”
This carriage house is tucked behind the former home of 1812 war veteran Colonel Peter van Every. Built around 1840, the historic building is now home to Event Bliss and Gifts, an event company, proving that even a stable can be transformed into a glamorous storefront.
FRANKLIN ROAD “FARMHOUSE”
The “Farmhouse” barn sits behind the village’s iconic Coffee and Ice Cream shop. While owner Steven Showers says there’s nothing firm yet for the barn’s future use, he wants to preserve it and believes a restoration is in its future. “It’s not going anywhere,” he says.
FRANKLIN ROAD “BARN”
This barn was recently renovated by owner Dan Costello. The barn is divided into two sections and is currently leased to the boutique Zieban-Mare and as a professional office for Franklin lawyer and sports agent Mike Liut.
VILLAGE GREEN “KREGER BARN”
This barn was built in the 1860s and was part of a massive relocation project in 2008. The Greek revival-style Kreger House and its outbuildings (including the barn) were moved from their location at 26565 Scenic Dr. to the Village Green, forming a key part of the village’s historic attractions.
Next to the village post office sits this barn, a potential site for future businesses.