Looking like a towered and turreted castle, the Leatherman Barn of Buena Vista Farms was built between 1903 and 1907 by George T. Leatherman. The barn cost was $4,229.26, a princely sum at the time but by today’s standards a trifling amount for what remains the largest wood barn in West Virginia and one still used on a working farm.
Built of native white oak, the barn has eight cupolas, three gables, and double silos. It stands two stories tall and includes three main sections that are three barns strung together. According to Leatherman’s account book, the white oak “was cut and sawed at Walnut Bottom and hauled in with 4 horse teams.”
By the early 1990s, the barn was collapsing. Clyde and Mary Ann Ours bought the barn in 1992 from George “Bud” Leatherman, the grandson of George T. Leatherman, and Bud’s wife Nellie, Ours’ sister. Making good on a promise to his sister, Ours begin the long and expensive proves of restoring the structure.
When he died in 1994, his daughters, Deborah Ours Bishop and Jennifer Ours Williams, took on the challenge to honor their father’s vow to make the barn whole again. By 2003, restoration was complete enough for the barn to be open for the first time to the public for Heritage Weekend. Work on the barn is ongoing.
Buena Vista Farms was placed on the Register of National Historical Places in 1985.
Open Courtesy of Deborah Bishop and Jennifer Williams
Directions: Take US 220 North to Old Fields. Watch for the medieval-looking structure that looms to your right.