The Miller Red Barn Association (MRBA), a local nonprofit organization, received an award for “Outstanding Building Restoration” for the restoration of the Miller Red Barn at Christmas Hill Park during a ceremony on May 21 organized by the Santa Clara County Preservation Alliance.
The association was one of 16 recognized at the History Park in San Jose.
Joanie M. Lewis of the Gilroy Historical Society was also honored for her work on the society’s oral history program and producing it for the last five years.
According to SCCPA Coordinator Tere Johnson, the awards were created “to celebrate May’s National Preservation Month and to gather both history and preservation groups within our county for a night of camaraderie and recognition.”
MRBA research determined that the barn was built in 1891 by Henry Miller, a noted California cattle rancher and one of the world’s largest landowners. The historic barn is on the Ranch side of Christmas Hill Park.
The group has been working on the project since February 2014, when the Gilroy City Council voted to demolish the barn and two adjacent structures.
MRBA President Richard Perino spoke at the event and accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
“It was Carol DeSantis who was responsible for noticing that the barn was to be demolished and immediately starting an ad-hoc committee to save the barn,” Perino said. “Through her efforts and many others, the Gilroy City Council granted a reprieve on the demolition to give the fledgling organization time to prove to the city that they could restore the barn.”
He also credited DeSantis for writing and securing the barn’s State and Federal Landmark Designation. Credit was also given to all the volunteers and current and past board members for their many contributions to the effort to save the barn.
Concluding, Perino thanked SCCPA for the award and went on to thank the Santa Clara County Historical Grant Program, the Historic Heritage Grant from Supervisor Mike Wasserman, L’Aiglon Foundation, Native Sons of the Golden West, and the Gilroy Foundation for their grants and further acknowledged the descendants of Henry Miller, and the Gilroy community who supported the restoration of the barn by donating money or attending the organization’s fundraisers.