Barker House’s history explained to local gathering

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Jack Haessly, left, and Barker descendant Susan Remley Wielitzka, right, discuss the history of the Barker family and their impact on Washington County and the U.S. during a meeting Monday night with the Washington County Historical Society.

With the next meeting in the fight to save the Barker House already on the books for next week, the impact of the Barker family was told Monday night.

The Judge Joseph Barker Jr. House in Lower Newport is currently scheduled for demolition by the end of September.

Last August a grassroots movement to save the house and move it to another location along Ohio 7 began and has since gathered the support of the Washington County Historical Society.

Monday more than 40 individuals filled the front room of the Castle, for the Washington County Historical Society’s presentation on the Judge Joseph Barker Jr. House.

In attendance were representatives from the current owner, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and others from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, state legislature and Newport residency.

Jack Haessly, of Newport, discussed the meaning of the judge to the community of Newport, both with the cemetery and school in Barker’s name.

Scott Britton, past president of the society, delivered remarks on the history of the Barkers and their significance not only to the Northwest Territory development but also to the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage.

Britton also delivered remarks on behalf of Archaeologist Wes Clarke about the significance of the style of the Barker House, and how well the Federal architecture elements have survived.

Then Bill Reynolds, president of the society, said moving forward the society has a set agenda needing support:

≤ The society has submitted a formal request to be a part of the historic review board for the home with the corps.

≤ The society will continue collecting letters of support from local organizations and officials for the preservation of the home.

≤ The society, once permitted by the corps, will obtain quotes from two moving contractors for the transport of the home.

≤ There are plans to create a nonprofit 501c3 entity for the Barker House Preservation.

≤ That entity needs legal counsel.

≤ The society plans to create a fund with the Marietta Community Foundation for the preservation effort so that tax deductible donations can be made to the preservation effort.

Marietta resident Susan Remley Wielitzka, a descendant of the Barkers, was present for the presentations Monday and said she hopes that the home of her great-grandfather’s brother could be saved and put to use like the Castle is used today.

“I’ve seen what preservation can do, it pulls more people into the town,” she said. “I know mother talked about the house and we drove by it for years. I just hope it can be saved and put back to use.”

The next Barker House preservation meeting Tuesday March 13 at 7 p.m. at the Washington County Archives Library, 346 Muskingum Drive, Marietta.

What’s next

≤ Barker House preservation meeting Tuesday March 13 at 7 p.m. at the Washington County Archives Library, 346 Muskingum Drive, Marietta.

≤ The Washington County Historical Society is gathering letters of support from local organizations and officials for the preservation of theJudge Joseph Barker Jr. House in Newport.

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