TANGENT, Ore. – A Tangent barn once owned by a cat is now being restored, and Linn County is recognizing the new owner for her preservation efforts.
When John Bass, owner of John Bass Barn, passed away in the 1980s, he left his 3-acre estate to his cat, Kitty Kat. The cat and its caretaker remained at the residence for about 10 years, until Kitty Kat died. The City then inherited the estate, but did not have funds to maintain the barn. Now, the Tangent City Hall is housed in the former Bass residence, where Kitty Kat’s grave is. The barn, however, was set for demolishment.
“It was going to be torn down and sent to the landfill,” said Beth Timmons, the barn’s new owner. “And that’s when we decided to save it. I feel like the history is really important. And we’re losing a lot of our history.”
For a dollar, Timmons purchased the barn from the city. In exchange, she had to pay to move it to her property.
“I feel like the history is really important, and we’re losing a lot of our history,” she said. “As these buildings fall down, or when we bulldoze them for other, new buildings to come in – we lose not only the heritage that we had, but all the stories that go with it.”
Timmons says the Borden family built the barn in the 1920s on one of three poultry farms in the area. Because of the Borden family’s historical significance to the structure, Timmons re-named the barn the Borden Bass Big Red Barn.
“There was a harvest festival that was centered around this barn,” she said. “There were car shows around this barn. There have been people who have been married outside of this barn. So all of that we want to preserve.”
Timmons and her parents, who live in the Seattle area, have been working on the restoration since they moved the barn in Oct. 2012. Timmons says it is a lot of work, but she says it will be worth it.
“We definitely could have built a barn for less money than it is taking to save it, but what’s really important is not so much necessarily about the money,” she said. “It’s about saving the history and preserving what we have for future generations. And this is our little stamp on trying to do that for future generations.”
Earlier this month, Timmons received a letter in the mail from the Linn County Historic Resource Commission praising her restoration work.
“It was such a good feeling, she said. “It was such a feeling that what we did was the right thing and what we’re continuing to do is the right thing and that there are other people who care.”
The Commission will be giving Timmons an award on May 18, thanking her for working to preserve the barn. Timmons has a vision to open the barn to the community for events, but also as a museum.
“A lot of folks want to get married in here, and I can totally understand why,” she said. “This is just made to have community events in here.”
Timmons also wants to have a registry to keep track of stories and pictures of not only her barn, but of barns in the surrounding area. She encourages anyone with stories to contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org