DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — The beams are going up, giving new life to a barn from yesteryear.

The Mackel Barn, raised 160 years ago on Chapman Road in the northwest corner of Allen County, was too much of a treasure to destroy.

So the DeKalb County Horsemen’s Association decided the barn fit with its overall mission of making history relevant with its focus on draft animals, and told ACRES Land Trust they’d take it. The 1,800-square-foot barn will serve as part of its Draft Animal Museum & Farm and an event center on the 30-acre property.

The idea is to “bring the past forward and preserve it for the future,” Mark Carunchia, secy-treasurer of the Horsemen’s Association, said.

The Association, on County Road 427 just south of Auburn and a few miles north of the Mackel Nature Preserve, had the historic barn taken down beam by beam. Putting it together is an expert Amish crew, L&M Reclaiming, out of LaGrange County.

The work is expected to be completed in October, but the barn won’t be finished until the interior work is done and lean-tos are constructed. The original exterior boards will be used for the barn siding, Carunchia said.

“When we were first contacted about the barn over three years ago, it really fit into kind of what we do and our mission here,” Carunchia said. “Obviously we’re in the history business, but we always want to be involved in the history of horses — any kind of draft animals, horses, mules, ponies. Our mission has always been to keep those historical tractors of the past, gentle giants, in the public eye. We’ve made an honest effort to preserve that history through our museum and demonstrating to people how they were used, transportation, industry farming.”

Carunchia said the date of the barn indicates that horses and other farm animals would be part of its history and that the barn might have been used for all kinds of storage – hay, equipment, grain and animals.

The original owner of the Mackel Barn is unknown, but the barn was part of a 34-acre property known as the Mackel estate that was willed to ACRES, a non-profit land conservation organization. ACRES looked to donate the barn to an organization interested in acquiring it and restoring it, Corunchia said.

The Horsemen’s Association has its eyes on another building that would add to the campus, but Carunchia said the organization wanted to keep the information under wraps until the deal is sealed.