TTU's Old Shipley Barn receives historical marker

Tennessee Tech University's Old Shipley Barn, one of the oldest standing structures in Putnam County and possibly Tennessee, recently received its own historical marker.

The bronze marker outlines the history of the nearly 200-year-old barn located west of Cookeville on the Gainesboro Grade near the Hyder-Burks Ag Pavilion. The marker was officially unveiled at the recent Shipley Family Reunion.

After some renovation years ago, the barn is still used today as a working facility by TTU agriculture students. Renovation of the historic Shipley Barn was completed with the aid of a $35,000 donation from the Major Michael Shipley Trust. Also, construction of a new sheep barn, adjacent to the Shipley Barn, is underway. The new barn project is supported in part by a $25,000 Shipley Trust donation.

Built in the 1830s by slaves of the Putnam County pioneer Abraham Buck, the Old Shipley Barn is an example of half-dovetail notched and hand hewn log construction. Buck is buried near the barn.

The Old Shipley Barn is the only remaining major structure which was part of the Abraham Buck Plantation. After changing ownership many times over the years, the barn and land was purchased by Squire Harvey Shipley.

Charlie Benton Shipley, a TTU graduate who was at the recent reunion, owns the only parcel of the original Shipley Farm remaining in the Shipley family today. This parcel, as well as much of the land now owned by the state of Tennessee, through Tennessee Tech, was formerly owned by Charlie's brother, Major Michael Shipley. Today, a scholarship in Michael Shipley's name is available to eligible students entering the agriculture program at TTU.

Marc Burnett, Tennessee Tech's vice president of Student Affairs, 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.

Burnett donated the painting to the university's College of Agriculture and Human Ecology, and signed and numbered prints are available for sale. A certificate of authenticity, which includes a history of the barn, accompanies 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 can be made by calling the TTU College of Agriculture and Human Ecology at 372-3149.