Jessica Mathews /

A fundraising campaign is underway to help preserve South Lyon’s rich history and relocate a century-old barn to the Historic Village.

Friends of the Roper Barn is a non-profit created to support the South Lyon Area Historical Society. South Lyon resident Julie Paquette is a lifetime member of the Society but created the non-profit entity separately outside of it for the project.

Paquette says the barn was donated to the Society by the Roper Family of Salem Township for it to be moved into South Lyon’s Historical Village. She says there are a few buildings there already and the barn would be the next addition, noting they’re trying to build out a good variety of different historical buildings.

The barn was located on Pontiac Trail. Paquette says the exact date of construction is not recorded or documented but is believed to be in the very late 1800’s or early 1900 – she says they estimate between 1890 and 1910.

Paquette says the last owner of the farm passed away and family members wanted to donate the barn to both help honor him but also preserve some of the local history as South Lyon was once known as the horse capital of Michigan and has a heritage deeply rooted in its equestrian legacy.

The barn has been disassembled by a professional and is being kept in storage at the Tube Mill in South Lyon until enough funds are raised to have it erected in the Village. Paquette said there will be some repairs and replacement done when the barn is put back up but the idea is to keep as much of the original barn intact so there’s an authentic representation.

Paquette said funding was earlier used to pay a gentleman with experience with disassembling old barns who inventoried each and every individual piece of the Roper Barn and determined which pieces could be salvaged. She says all of the information is recorded and organized until the Historical Society receives enough funding to have it rebuilt in the Village – which is estimated to be around $20,000.

The non-profit will be hosting a kick-off event for Friends of the Roper Barn on December 9th. The Holiday Hoedown event will be a square dance at the Domino's Farms Barn to help raise funds to save the barn.

Those who register ahead of time will be entered into a raffle to attend the event for free but people can also just pay at the door. Paquette noted no experience is necessary and everything will be taught in a laid-back atmosphere.

Another fundraiser is also underway with Whole Hearted Winery in New Hudson in which bottles of wine with custom labels featuring the barn in different seasons/themes are for purchase by the public.

The group also recently received a $3,000 donation from South Lyon’s Pumpkinfest Committee toward the project.

Paquette said they’re hoping to raise the needed funds in less than a year, so they’re working to bring awareness about the project while getting the community invested and excited about it.

Donations and sponsors are being sought, and Paquette said they also really need volunteers in all different forms.

A link to the group’s Facebook page is provided and an event flyer for the upcoming fundraiser is attached.