Renovated DeTurk Round Barn is ready for your event
By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The historic DeTurk Round Barn, which a year ago was close to collapse, reopened to the public Thursday after an 11-month
renovation widely praised for preserving the spirit of the 1890 structure while bringing it into the 21st century.
“This is what we’ve been hoping for forever,” said Lea Barron-Thomas, president of the West End Neighborhood Association. “It’s a dream come true.”
The project is the culmination of a lengthy effort to restore a building that began life as wealthy vintner Isaac DeTurk’s horse stable, later housed a city public works yard, and by the late 1990s had fallen into disrepair.
That’s when the city began taking steps to preserve the building, one of only two true round barns still standing in the state. (The Fountaingrove round barn is actually 16-sided.) The property around the DeTurk barn was turned into a neighborhood park. But the barn itself remained unoccupied, until this latest effort to find a use for it.
The $2.1 million renovation transformed the dirt-floor barn into a modern, for-rent event center, complete with kitchenette, bathrooms, high-tech sound and video systems.
“Anyone that knows anyone who wants to get married, this is the place to do it!” said Vice Mayor Jake Ours during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by more than 100 people.
The catered event included a bit of pomp rarely seen since the city began to struggle financially about three years ago. Council members cut a ribbon with a pair of oversized scissor, a 15-minute video outlined the history of the project, and Santa Rosa police chief Tom Schwedhelm even deputized neighborhood activist Allen Thomas as “Marshal of DeTurk.”
One of the challenges of the project was to “walk the line” between modern upgrades and historic preservation, explained Kevin Teel, of TLCD Architecture. Even though modern lighting, flat screen televisions, and audio speakers were added, the wooden interior walls were left uninsulated and exposed, preserving the barn’s rustic character, he said.
Other upgrades include a new roof, a radiant heat system, a massive ceiling fan, reclaimed oak flooring, an elevator and two stairwells to the balcony. The building was also repainted white inside and out. There is room in the balcony for art exhibits, which at the moment feature some circular themed work by Santa Rosa artist Mario Uribe.
Outside, the upgrades include a neighborhood dog park, dedicated in memory of police dog Maverick who was killed in the line of duty in 2000, and a garden planted with rose bushes salvaged from the site before construction and tended by neighbors until they could be replanted.
The restoration was funded by park development fees and grants, including from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment.