Chesterfield's preservation of Eberwein Park and its 100-year-old barn last year were apparently onto something—a national trend.
Missouri is ranked second in the number of old surviving barns, built prior to 1960, and now these once ubiquitous rural structures have sparked a census, documentation and photography, funding for repairs, and even a Facebook page about the barns.
In 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started counting how many barns were standing, according to an Associated Press article out of Kansas City posted on ABC News online.
Missouri had about 36,000 old barns and Wisconsin 35,000. Texas took the prize with 51,000 old barns.
But Missouri took the lead apparently on preservation, according to the AP's Heather Hollingsworth.
"(The cenus) spurred formation last year of the Missouri Barn Alliance and Rural Network, which raises money to survey and find new uses for aging barns. It also created a fund that farmers can borrow from to make repairs and a Facebook page with photographs of old barns grouped by county."
The Missouri group is based in Columbia, MO and "barn enthusiasts" are encouraged to attend its meetings.
The City of Chesterfield bought a small farm, Eberwein, for a city park several years ago and while it struggled with historians over the tear-down of the 100-plus-year-old farm house, it preserved the old red barn for storage.
The park has a popular residents-only fenced dog run, and plans community vegetable gardens, and a flower garden.