Small team rebuilds an antique barn near Lake Lillian
LAKE LILLIAN — Doug Gorans has undertaken the massive project of renovating an antique barn on his farm near Lake Lillian to store his tractors from the same era.
The barn was sitting on an old family farm near Svea for close to 70 years before Gorans had the structure moved to his property.
“Building a new barn would have been much simpler,” Gorans said.
In 2013, Gorans was in the market for a new barn for storage. After being introduced to Jon Erickson, an area resident with a degree in industrial engineering from St. Cloud State University, Gorans decided to undertake the renovation.
“ … Anyone can build a pole barn,” Gorans said. “We decided to take on this restoration to see if it was even possible. I thought it would be great to give new life to a building with history.”
Gorans, his brother-in-law Carlton Larson and Erickson have been working on the barn since August.
“Without Jon this restoration wouldn’t have been possible,” said Gorans during an interview. “His passion is for projects like this and as a solo contractor and builder he has been dedicated to making it perfect. That’s something I never would have gotten with a large team of builders.”
The barn was in rough shape when it arrived at Gorans’ property. The roof was sagging, there were structural issues and a new foundation needed to be built, according to Erickson.
“This barn is the most elaborate project I have ever done,” said Erickson in an interview. “We needed to pull the lopsided building back into a square before we could even start work on it. We did that with cables and used custom boards to anchor the building to the new foundation. Then we rebuilt the trusses to give it stability and got the metal roof in place before the winter came last year.”
Erickson estimates that, between Larson and himself, more than 2,000 work and planning hours have been dedicated to restoring the barn over the past year. Every piece has been custom measured, cut and installed by Larson and Erickson.
The team hopes to be finished with renovations by July 26 when Gorans’ youngest son will have a wedding reception in the beautifully restored building.