The Barn in St. Ignatius is making a comeback in 2019.
Perfect conditions helped a team begin work on the community landmark, ranging from cooperating weather to the crew having time to replace the roof.
Rita Tingey, who has owned the property on which The Barn is located, said that a group of six men started work on Monday, Nov. 26 and were moving at an “amazing” fast pace.
The Barn sits at 340 Mission Drive, one block from the St. Ignatius Catholic Mission.
“I consider it a miracle. (The roofers) thought we’d have to wait until spring but timing worked in everyone’s favor,” Tingey said last Wednesday.
Tingey said that for the last several years, people have asked when The Barn would be used, but she’s had to explain that a leaky roof has been to blame as the structure has sat empty.
The community staple has been used to host all sorts of events, ranging from weddings to funerals, community dances to plays.
Usually lending The Barn to groups or families free of charge, Tingey said that going forward a fee will probably be established to help maintain the building.
“I tried to preserve it as best as I could. There aren’t funds for it,” so Tingey and her husband, Scott, have used their own savings for the new roof.
Miller Construction finished up a project when Tingey said there would be time to quickly get to work.
While rain and snow fell in surrounding areas, precipitation largely held off while a six-man team climbed ladders and spent days on top of The Barn’s roof.
“We’ve just been really blessed,” Tingey said, still marveling at the weather last week.
“One guy said he couldn’t believe the good luck because Missoula” was snowed in, she added.
THE BARN was built in the 1930s, Tingey said, and was used as a dairy barn for the Jesuits. The new roof will measure 12,000 square feet. Miller Construction is handling the roof project, which will take about a month to complete.
“It’s the biggest barn I’ve ever seen,” Tingey said, laughing.
The dairy operation provided milk for the area. A flour mill was built next to The Barn, too.
The land was obtained from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes by the Jesuits, who then sold the property to the Brown family of Polson.
Purchasing the land in 1990 from the Brown family, Tingey said that she felt compelled to keep The Barn going.
“From the time my first husband (Rod Arlint) and I bought this property, I felt we were stewards,” Tingey said. “It has a greater purpose than little old me.”
Many people in the St. Ignatius area seem to have ties to The Barn.
Tingey said there is a horse stable in the structure, and people tell her they had a grandparent or loved one that worked there when it was used as a dairy barn.
One of the most popular events that people Tingey talked about are youth plays that were produced at The Barn, which were held for two decades.
“There’s just good community feelings” related to the big red barn, Tingey said.
Next year, Tingey has plans for The Barn.
Son Tyler Arlint, principal of St. Ignatius Elementary, came up with the idea to host “Barn of the Dread” next fall.
Tingey said that she wants to start getting the word out that The Barn will be available for community dances “or grandma’s 80th birthday.”
To schedule events, such as weddings, receptions and family gatherings, call 406-850-1663 or 509-789-0235.