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Touring the Springville barn with the Dugdales provides a trip down memory lane. A barn owl takes turns living in the upper area where the Shimizus resided, moving sometimes to the nearby cement silos. Many of Phillips’ inventions, including an old drill press, are stored inside. Phillips’ living quarters are also somewhat intact, with old canisters, a baby pram, an old gravity-powered red kids’ race car and a shaving sink and mirror still intact.
Michele Dugdale would eventually like to turn the area into a museum, though a fight with the city of Springville and the Union Pacific Railroad has left the right of way into the property in question. Currently, the LDS Church stake allows access to the barn on a dirt road.
"For being next to a railroad, this is the most peaceful place on earth," said Michele, who said Jake did much with little recognition to help the city of Springville and his neighbors.
Mottonen listens to these stories of the barns quietly and at times seems almost invisible when taking a tour.
"The story about Jake Phillips, a great man in his own right, is also a story about our history and who we are," said the author.
And, in writing about Utah’s most famous barns as well as unusual farmers in his colorful book, Mottonen has done his best to use Utah’s barns as a way to tell stories about the state’s history.
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