Discover Bath Barns: Lorenzo Shaw barn

by Laura Bednar

Bath Township’s Heritage Corridors of Bath Committee manages one of 27 designated scenic byways in the state of Ohio. The Heritage Corridors of Bath byway, established in 2001, covers 39 miles of road entirely within the township and is designed to tell the story of Ohio’s Western Reserve from the Bath Township perspective: Preserve the rural heritage and maintain the bucolic landscapes for all to enjoy.

When on the byway, more than 30 barns are visible with many over 100 years old and several listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The history and heritage of these barns, like many in Ohio, are fading away.

Bath Township trustees decided to address this trend and in 2023 created a committee – Discover Bath Barns – as a means to preserve and enhance the heritage represented by these barns. This group, part of the larger Heritage Corridors of Bath Committee, has partnered with the Bath Country Journal to publish a series of articles about some of the heritage barns along the byway.

The former Lorenzo Shaw farm on N. Hametown Road is south of many other Shaw farms on both sides of the road, all the way north to Everett Road. The farm is the site of a flat barn, built on smooth terrain with only one level for keeping livestock and crops.

Lorenzo was the son of Samuel and Charlotte Shaw, who came to Bath in 1829 from Bristol, New York. They were the first of the Shaws to settle in Bath, according to township documents. Lorenzo was born in 1832, and in the early 1850s he purchased 25 acres on N. Hametown Road. County records date the barn from 1883, but Bath historians found the barn dates from the mid 19th century, indicating it was built around the same time as the home, in the 1850s.

Lorenzo married Eleanor Collins in 1856 and the couple had eight children, two of whom were lost in childhood. In 1870, an agriculture census and a population census show that Lorenzo improved all 25 acres of the farm, which was valued at $2,500. The farm had one horse, two milk cows and a pig. The livestock was valued at $160. The farm produced 28 bushels of winter wheat, 100 bushels of Indian corn and 75 bushels of oats.

The Shaw family lived on the property until the early 20th century, according to current property owner Dan Nelson. His family bought the property in 1988. A slew of others owned the property, including the Sandin family, from the 1930s until the 1960s. Nelson said Sandin Drive, located between Ranchwood and Shaw roads, is named for the family.

In the 1960s the home and barn were in disrepair and Nelson said a local man bought the property and elected to renovate them. “Both the house and barn reflect various stages of development,” said Nelson, adding that over the years the property owners would add or remove something from the structures based on the style at that time.

Though the barn is not the original building, the foundation is. Nelson said it is what’s called a “rubble” foundation, made of stones mixed with concrete, and remains entirely on the surface of the ground, not below it. The man who repaired both buildings added a concrete floor to the barn.

While replacing the barn’s siding, Nelson noticed it was evident the barn walls had been built without using hardware. The wood pieces were designed to fit into each other like puzzle pieces.

The barn’s current roof is galvanized steel, and Nelson replaced most of the windows. Though updates have been made, he said he believes the frame design is the same as the original. ∞

Photo: The barn on Lorenzo Shaw’s former farm on North Hametown Road is a flat barn with one level. Current barn owner Dan Nelson painted the pictures that hang above the barn doors. Photo by Laura Bednar.