HALIFAX, Pa. (WHTM) — Charlie Funk always saw the potential in his barn along Route 225.
Since moving to his property in 1975, Funk says the large, hundred-year-old barn has had various uses. Originally a place to store crops and supplies from his own family’s 400-acre farming operation, the building later housed cattle and horses. These days, Funk still allows other local farmers to use the barn.
“Mainly, the grandkids use it for basketball,” he said with a laugh, opening two large doors to reveal two portable basketball hoops inside.
Over the years, the large structure remained sturdy, but portions of the exterior wood and metal roof succumbed to the elements.
“It needed a quite a bit of rehabilitation,” Funk said. “At one point, my work took me out-of-state and I just never had the time.”
A few years ago after retiring, Funk got more serious about finally fixing the barn.
“I had a few people take a look. You will find if you bring someone out to paint a barn, the contractors aren’t really interested in preparing the old wood and replacing things like that,” he said. “So, I started to do some things myself.”
Funk says about three-and-a-half-years ago, his daughter Celene offered a monetary gift to help her parents get the barn painted.
“I had one guy come out and look at the place and then he never came back,” Charlie recalled. “So we started looking online. As soon as you’d look up “barn painting,” the Barn Artist came up, his website.”
The Funks had originally envisioned a quilt design to be painted on the side of the barn but then discovered several flag designs that Ohio-based artist Scott Hagan had painted on barns around the country.
“We knew it right away. That was the one. There was no doubt,” Charlie said. “We had several designs, but we took a vote as a family and it was the clear winner.”
Funk says it took so long to schedule Hagan for a visit to Halifax that he had to remind him of the flag design they had chosen years before. According to Hagan, he tries to keep his flag paintings different enough so that each barn remains one-of-a-kind.
Charlie says Hagan gave him some instructions for prepping the barn with white paint prior to his arrival. In the meantime, Funk hurried to replace wood to ensure the old barn was in prime condition prior to painting.
“This entire barn has been renailed,” he said. “I was up on a ladder trying to paint and a local plumber saw me up there and offered me to borrow his scaffolding, which made that job a lot safer and easier. I was also able to get use of a lift for the painting.”
After several rain delays, Hagan began the project, staying in his RV on the Funk’s property for about a week.
“He could have probably had it done in about two-and-a-half days if there wasn’t so much rain,” said Funk.
Attention to the barn had already begun during the painting process, as neighbors started to notice the larger-than-life American flag take shape on the side of the roughly 1,600 square-foot north-facing side of the barn. Once completed on Saturday, cars traveling southbound on Route 225 began slowing to a near halt at times to take in the majesty of the new artwork.
Once a drone video showing the project from start to finish appeared on the Barn Artist Facebook Page, hundreds of comments were posted complimenting the work and its patriotic theme.
“My wife and I both come from families of veterans,” Funk said. “Her dad was in the Army. My dad was in the Army. We had uncles in the Air Force, the Navy, Merchant Marines, plus we have a lot of school teachers in the family, so (we’re) community and country-oriented.”
Funk says his wife has fielded several hundred emails and text messages from people expressing gratitude for creating a new local landmark the Halifax area can be proud of. Many people from around the region have asked if they can take family photos or pictures of classic cars, using the barn as a backdrop.
Charlie, who says his family sees the painting as a gift to share with the community, would allow anyone to take photos. He only warns that pulling a vehicle over on Route 225 is not safe to do and recommends that people use the Keiffer Road connector off of Armstrong Valley Road (Route 225) to get closer to the barn located at 1556 Armstrong Valley Road.
Now that the project is finished, Funk says he couldn’t be more pleased, thankful that his family’s vision for the barn seems to be shared by the community.
“I think this works for us and I think the people around here will appreciate it,” he said.
Funk suggests people who use the barn for photographs make a donation to a charitable organization benefiting veterans.