Barn for sale: Oakland County seeks buyer for historic Ernst Barn

A barn that dates back to the 1850s -- and possibly even older -- is for sale in Oakland County.

The Ernst Barn, so named because of its location on the former Ernst Greenhouse property at Waterford Oaks County Park, is the subject of a Request for Proposals put out by Oakland County Parks and Recreation. 
No longer equipped to continue caring for the historic building, OCPR is looking for someone that can give the barn the attention that it deserves.

In considering proposals, OCPR Executive Officer Dan Stencil says that his department wants to find a buyer committed to restoring the barn and, ideally, one that could keep it in Waterford, or at least in Oakland County.

"The barn is part of our agrarian history," says Stencil. "Historically, there have been a lot of farms in Oakland County, and it's important to have assets like these preserved."

The RFP has already received several inquiries, he says, and could result in the barn being repurposed for commercial uses, restored as a storage facility, or something else entirely.

"The sky's the limit on how an asset like this can be re-purposed."

The barn is in relatively good shape, considering its age, and holds up structurally. It's a two-story barn believed to be built in the Antebellum period, in the year 1850 or even earlier. It mixes two early barn architectural styles, the English barn style, the first type of barn to be built in the United States, and the Bank barn style, a Midwestern offshoot of the English style.

"It's important that Oakland County residents understand where we came from so we can better understand where we are going," Stencil says.

Interested parties can email Andy J. Krumwiede at for more information on the Ernst Barn. RFPs are due mid-September.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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