|Red Barn ablaze, October 20, 1968|
The original Red Barn was a dining establishment housed in....a big red barn. (Fortunate naming, huh?) It opened sometime in the early 1960's, but after 1961 (anyone know any more specific than that?). The aerial photo below shows the area that year, without even Farrand Drive yet in place. The barn can clearly be seen, with a drive coming back from Kirkwood Highway. [A side note -- the circular shape with something on its west side, about where Smith's Volkswagon is now, may have been, from what I gather, a trampoline park. Anyone remember this?] Who owned the farm (which probably extended north and west before the highway was built) is unclear, but judging by the 1940 Census, my two guesses are either Norman Klair or Jacob Maclary. They seem to be the first two farmers listed coming what I'm guessing to be west out of Marshallton.
|Area around the Red Barn, 1961|
Sometime in the early-to-mid-60's, the big, old, red barn was converted into a restaurant. Sadly, it didn't last very long. On the afternoon of Sunday, October 20, 1968, a fire broke out in the attic, over the second floor dining rooms. Mill Creek Fire Company was soon on the scene, as was a crowd of people drawn by the smoke and sirens. Luckily for us, that crowd included my parents, for whom we can thank for the pictures. My Mom especially remembers this, since it happened to have been her birthday. (Don't worry, I don't think they were planning on going there for dinner.) The fire devastated the structure, said in this newspaper account to have been 50 years old. This incarnation of the restaurant never reopened, and the barn was eventually torn down.
Although the red barn was gone, the Red Barn Restaurant was not. A new structure was built and reopened under the same name. Here's where I could use some help, but I don't think the second restaurant was open too much longer than the first. I believe that by the late 70's, it too was shut down. I had always thought that the second building had a fire, too, but I could be wrong about that. I may just be remembering the first fire through my parents. I know that the building stood vacant for a number of years, before being torn down to make way for the Channel Home Center. In the mid 90's, that store was torn down and replaced by the current Best Buy.