Speaking of Old Barns

Reader call: Do you know of a historic barn in Kitsap or North Mason county? If so e-mail chenry@kitsapsun.com or call (360) 792-9219. Tell us about the barn, and be sure to leave you contact information.

The fire that burned a historic barn on Olalla Valley Road hit owners of the the property, Aaron and Diane Passow, hard. The couple, who bought the place a couple years ago were renovating the barn that Aaron said was a landmark to valley dwellers.

Olalla Valey Barn Fire
A fire on March 10, 2010, destroyed a historic barn on Olalla Valley Road. Photo by Stephanie Gonzales

The barn is said to be around 100 years old. It sported a bunch of brightly painted sunflowers and a quaint painting of a cow, harkening back to the property’s days as a dairy farm.

When Aaron was working on the barn, replacing floor boards and beams, people would stop by to chat and many asked for some of the wood as a keepsake.

Barn on Olalla Valley Road
Photo by Stephanie Gonzales

The cause of the fire that leveled the barn is still under investigation. When I was out there today, Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam, who apparently knows a thing or two about cows, held up a charred oval of metal. He said it was a stanchion, used to keep the cows still while you’re milking them.

The fire was just one more piece of bad luck the Passows have encountered since buying the place. In one instance, a cement truck overturned, damaging a corner of the roof on their one-story rambler. In another, a youngster driving too fast, skidded off the road and hit a transformer. Oil from the transformer leached down toward their porch.

As Aaron was sifting through the ruins, he said, “Hey look at this!” and reached down for a horseshoe. It had been nailed above the door to the barn lo these many years. Aaron took it for a sign the couple’s luck is about to change. Let’s hope so.

2 thoughts on “Speaking of Old Barns

  1. I heard from Mike Collins of Southworth on another old barn in Olalla:

    “In response to your request, there is another beautiful old barn in Olalla on Orchard Ave. between both corners of Black Rd. My memory is telling me the address is 11273 Orchard Ave. SE. It would be on the South side of the road up on the hill behind a old white farmhouse. It is also the place of the state’s largest black walnut tree. The Sun actually did an article around 1959 on it. I know all this because I grew up there but now live in Southworth.
    As I know both barns, I can compare the size and tell you that our old barn is half again bigger than the one that burned. Like that barn, we had provisions for live stock, LOTS of hay and feed.
    That one would be a good story I’m sure.

    Mike Collins”

    Chris Henry, reporter

  2. Some of the most interesting barns I’ve seen were in Silverdale and came down as Silverdale developed.

    Another old barn with a duel purpose is/was on the old Belfair Highway and site of the Belfair Barn Dances. I don’t know if the barn is still there but I can’t be the only one with fond memories of the old barn, live music and great dances…
    Sharon O’Hara

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