The Old Barn sits back from a quiet residential gravel street, beside a community playground near the northern end of the village. The Old Barn is a two-story squared-log structure, built circa 1920. The gambrel roof was rebuilt in 1936. Only the building is designated.
The barn was constructed around 1920 for Flynn Harris, who was an Indian Agent in Fort Simpson between 1918 and 1930. It was also used by his successor, Dr. Art Truesdell, chief magistrate of the region. The heritage value of the Old Barn lies in its links to these two administrators, as well as in the role it later played as a part of the Experimental Farm that was established on the site in 1947 by the federal Department of Agriculture. The Fort Simpson Experimental Farm was eventually closed in 1968 due the lack of agricultural potential in the region. There are few other visible remnants of the Experimental Farm. The barn’s gambrel roof is one of the earliest surviving examples of this design in the Northwest Territories.
In 2004, the Fort Simpson Historical Society successfully undertook to have this site recognized as a historic site by the Fort Simpson Heritage Bylaw, and it’s registry with Canada’s Historic Places.
The heritage value of the Old Barn is defined by the following elements:
– The squared-log construction featuring square-notch corners
– The cedar-shingled gambrel roof with ventilation cupola and interior vents
– Its two-storey design incorporating a full-length haymow
– Its original construction materials, styles, and layout
– The location of the structure on its original site