By Nancy Schaar
An old landmark in the county will be auctioned off by the Carrollton Exempted Village Schools Board of Education Nov. 18 and the board is hoping someone will purchase the barn, dismantle it and move it to a new location, preserving its historical value.
During the August school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Dave Quattrochi said they learned that the best location on the 157 acre farm property for a new field house for athletes is the site of the old D. O. Rutan barn.
Construction of a new school for grades 6-12 is already underway on the property at a location west of the barn. A field house is part of the project.
The land (former farm) was developed by David O. Rutan. He purchased the property in 1870 when he married Anna Ebersole. The original 50 acres he purchased was on the lower side of SR 332 and held an old log cabin and other log outbuildings. The farm grew as he purchased more land and extended all the way to Antigua Rd.
Rutan hired a prominent architect to design and build both the house and the barn. The house is currently used as administration offices of the school district.
A brick pit was made and the bricks for the farm house were fired on site and used to build the house. Logs and timber for the house and the barn were cut from the large forests located on the farm in 1870.
Rutan was born in 1843 and raised in Carroll County.. He attended a rural seminary, Harlem Springs, and later Scio College. When the Civil War erupted in the country, Rutan became a member of the 157 Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving as a corporal. At the end of his 100 day assignment, he enlisted again and served in the 186 Ohio.
Politics was important to Rutan and he served as a state representative for the Carroll County area in 1897. He also served as Carroll County treasurer.
In business, Rutan was successful. He was known as one of the best wool buyers in the state. In about 40 years, he had purchased more than 15,000,000 pounds of wool. Prices at that time ranged from 14 to 40 cents a pound. He owned considerable real estate in Carrollton as well and owned several businesses, including the Free Press Standard at one time. The family had property in Florida and spent time there as well.
Three children were born to the Rutan Family: Helen, Sarah, and Arthur. Arthur was in charge of the bank at Sherrodsville at the time of his death in 1915. He was killed while working with a team of horses and farming equipment on the family farm.
Helen married and lived in Pittsburgh and Sarah worked for a time in business in Columbus.
Sarah returned home and was proud to keep the old farmhouse in its original state with the exception of adding modern plumbing to the home.
Sarah sold the property to Archie Huebner in 1964 after her sister Helen died. The property was later sold to a mining company. The school district purchased the 157 acres in 1989 for $220,000 with plans to use it as a site for a future school campus. This included the house, the barn, a garage, and old outbuildings.
Some time back, during the time that several elementary schools were closed and sold in the district, and plans were just starting to form to build new school buildings on the farm property, district officials announced that they wanted to turn the barn into a museum of sorts for students in the district.
Officials said they would like to have the barn house the old photographs, and other memorabilia from the former elementary schools so students would know their history and where they came from. It was also hoped that the center of the barn could be used as a meeting room or event location.
Director of Programs Ed Robinson recently told board members the cost to make the barn into a museum or other building for use of students isn’t feasible financially.
“It would take $1 maybe $2 million dollars to get the barn to meet American Disabilities Act standards. In addition, the barn would need electrical service, plumbing, and other amenities to be used as a museum.
“It’s about making the best use of our funds. Do we really want to spend that much money on a barn?” asked Robinson.
Local resident Harry Nichols remembers growing up across the road from the farm during his childhood. He remembers hearing the story about Peter Rutan, David’s father coming to Carroll County when Route 332 was just a wagon trail.
Harry remembers when Sarah hired him when he was eight years old.
“She hired me to wash her dog,” said Nichols.
He worked for Sarah until he was 17 or 18. He remembers painting the picket fence that ran along the house when he was 12. That fence can be seen in a photo published in the Sesquicentennial History of the Carrollton Area 1815-1965.
“I was in that barn a lot as a kid. I remember the walls were covered with harnesses’ for the horses and other farm equipment,” said Nichols.
The Nov. 18 auction begins at 10 a.m.