Raising The Barn
I wanted to give Brussels a chance, so I gave a small gift. But I didn’t build this by myself – every single person I know contributed to this project.
On his frequent trips to Brussels, Bryan Morton likes to scan Main Street for activity. This is his home – he’s shopped, banked and raised his children here – and he cares about it deeply. He’s been a full time farmer his whole life and when he saw a need to revitalize the downtown of his own community, he decided it was time to do something.
He believed Brussels needed a unique community venue to attract visitors and new businesses. Something that combined the town’s agricultural heritage with modern amenities to satisfy a growing regional demand for hosting things like rural destination weddings and special events. An idea came to him when he heard about a recently sold farm property with a surplus building. He decided that Brussels needed a barn.
Rebuilding a barn complete with a silo and windmill in the middle of a town is not an easy undertaking. But Morton was the perfect person for the task.
“I’ve got a great fondness for old barns,” says Morton, adding “my parents spent so much time working in and around them that I was pretty near born in a milk pail.”
The Wheeler Barn stood on lot 2, concession 8 for 168 years before the frame was moved and reassembled in downtown Brussels. Donated by the Terpstra family of Brussels, the English high-post barn was renamed the Four Winds Barn.
The main floor is dedicated to hosting weddings and special events while the ground floor below has become the permanent home of the Brussels Farmers’ Market with room for 60 local vendors.
When you step inside the wedding hall, the first thing you notice is how incredibly huge the space is! Standing on the hemlock flooring in the dining hall it’s 37’ to the tamarack strapping on the roof.
The second thing you notice is the attention to detail that went into the perfectly matched décor. Light fixtures made from antique hay car mechanisms and tractor spade wheels line the dining hall while interior fans built with original wooden Dempster windmill blades tower overhead. A stone-sided pizza oven and live-edge wooden bar sit adjacent, waiting to host guests.
There are large barn doors on both the south and north-facing sides of the hall so that the wedding party can arrive and depart in style via the conveyance of their choice, whether it be driving through with a horse-drawn carriage or Cadillac.
There’s even a bridal suite tucked away in the barn loft, complete with Jacuzzi®, where the bride and groom can retreat after their guests depart.
“I wanted to give Brussels a chance, so I gave a small gift. But I didn’t build this by myself – every single person I know contributed to this project.”
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