Painting commemorating Old Shipley Barn available soon

Some consider it the oldest structure in Putnam County and among the oldest in Tennessee.

The Old Shipley Barn, located west of Cookeville off Gainesboro Grade on the Tennessee Technological University farm, was built in the 1800s on the Abraham Buck plantation by slaves and craftsmen. While efforts continue to preserve the historic barn, one man has preserved it in art for decades to come.

Marc Burnett, Tennessee Tech's vice president of Student Affairs, only recently began sharing his hobby and hidden talent for drawing and painting with others. He painted a picture of the barn and, when friends and colleagues saw the artwork, they also saw an opportunity to share the barn's story with others.

"The barn holds a tremendous amount of history for this region," Burnett said. "I drive by the barn every day and have always been attracted by it, but when I learned about the history behind the barn, I knew it was something I wanted to paint. I was particularly intrigued by the role of the slaves who built the barn and worked on the plantation. I'd like others to know about it, too."

Burnett donated the painting to the university's College of Agriculture and Human Ecology earlier this year, and 400 signed and numbered prints will be available for sale to the public soon. A certificate of authenticity, which includes a history of the barn, will accompany each print.

Proceeds from the sale will fund a scholarship Burnett established in the name of his wife, Tammie, who is a graduate of the college. Orders for the $50 print package are now being accepted. For more information, call the TTU College of Agriculture and Human Ecology at 372-3149.