Shoring up a piece of Sisters history.

The Nugget News reports on the Land Trust's historic Hindman Barn.
By Jim Cornelius
Nugget News


Only a skeleton remains of the interior of the Hindman Barn, which was built on Camp Polk meadow in 1871.

A grant-funded project undertaken by Deschutes Land Trust and Blackrock Contracting Inc. is ensuring that that skeleton of the historic building remains standing.

Blackrock Contracting is removing rotten sills and rotten portions of vertical posts; re-pegging dislocated posts; and making the structure plumb and stabilizing it with knee braces and guy wires. They are also jacking up and stabilizing all post bottoms, putting the posts on concrete footings which will help prevent rot. The concrete will be buried and not visible to the casual eye.

The Land Trust will also mark the extent of the original footprint of the 75-by-50-foot post-and-beam structure, which is larger than the interior skeleton that remains. The wooden structure has been battered by time and the elements.

According to Deschutes Land Trust, "In 1990 a windstorm severely damaged the failing roof, after which the owners removed the remaining section of roof and all of the siding. In 2000, when the Deschutes Land Trust acquired the land and created Camp Polk Meadow Preserve, the remains of the barn were shored up and supported by cables and rope. However, the barn timbers continued to deteriorate and destabilize."

For several years, the Land Trust has contemplated how best to handle the structure.

"This included consulting with Deschutes County and its Historical Landmarks Commission, the Sisters Historical Society, and a descendant of the Hindman family," the Land Trust reported. "Together we decided the best route would be to stabilize the remaining structure so future generations could learn its story."

Funding for the project was provided by Oregon Community Foundation Historic Trails Fund, The Roundhouse Foundation, the Laird Norton Foundation, East Cascades Audubon Society, and private donors.

The stabilization of the barn skeleton is part of "a larger effort to preserve and provide interpretation on the historic Hindman Springs portion of Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. We re-built the Hindman Springs Area trail in August of 2017, are now working to preserve the Hindman barn and homesite, and will work to restore native vegetation over the next year," the Land Trust reports.

The homesite features an underground spring that was lined with rocks. The spring lay under the kitchen, where, according to Janet Hodgers, the great-great granddaughter of Martha Hindman, there was a trapdoor and a cage system so the family could use the cool chamber to store their dairy goods.

The house, which was torn down in 1960, was two stories tall and had three bedrooms. It had likely been added on to over many years.

The barn and the house site was part of Hindman Station, a historic stopping place along the Santiam Wagon Road, which in the 1860s onward connected eastern and central Oregon to the more developed Willamette Valley.