COLUMBUS -- A lawmaker has proposed designating the barn as the state's "official historical architectural structure."

Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) offered HB 12 at the request of a group of school kids in her district as a way to recognize and promote the preservation of barns in the state.

"I believe that it is important to cherish and preserve the architectural relics that are such an important part of our rural heritage," Gonzales told members of the Ohio House's State and Local Government Committee Tuesday, where the legislation had its initial hearing.

She added, "Eleven states have developed programs to assist in the preservation and finding of new uses for historic barns and I feel that it is time that Ohio makes the step to officially recognize the barn so that we may hope to preserve the barns of this state for our future generations."

Ohio already has a number of official designations, including a state cultivated flower (the scarlet carnation), bird (the cardinal), frog (the American bullfrog) and amphibian (the spotted salamander). A few years ago, it added the Adena Pipe to the list as the official state artifact.

HB 12 would comparably honor the barn, which, an analysis by the state's Legislative Service Commission noted, "is an agricultural building located on farms and used for many purposes."

Gonzales recounted efforts in 1998 to paint 88 barns across the state as part of Ohio's bicentennial celebration. The students in her district, she said, "approached my office with the idea of recognizing the significance that the barn has played in our state."

Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.