Barn, Again, Again

Author: Retter Hofbesitzer / Labels:

We do not know much about the original barn.  It is believed to have been built originally when the farmhouse was built and that would have been in the early 1800s, probably between 1810 and 1830.  The first barn would have needed to accomodate horses used for pulling implements and for use as transportation.  It is also likely to have housed various other farm livestock, hay, straw and grain.  At some point near the time Russell returned from guardianship to the farm, the original barn burned beyond rebuilding and the second, current, barn was built.  This entailed mortgaging the farm to pay for construction of the most essential building on any farm.  Many years of labor and saving would ensue before the debt was repaid.

The second barn was built during a transitional era between the early, traditional building method of post and beam, and the later baloon style construction.  This barn features elements from both post and beam, and the later baloon style construction.  Posts are much small than those found in older barns, as are the beams.  Sidewall construction is largely of dimensional lumber with some lamination where heavier beams were necessary.  The north end of the barn was the only area to have had a poured concrete floor for the milking parlor.  It included a drainage trough that was used to carry away waste and stanchions for the milk cows.  Lofts for hay and straw were placed on the two ends of the barn above the stables and the milking parlor.  The barn also featured pull-through sliding doors on each side.  this was necessary to accomodate the horse-drawn wagons that carried loose hay and straw.

When the second barn was renovated in 2009 we discovered a couple of massive handhewn beams that were likely saved from the original barn and reused in the new barn.  These beams supported a small internal corn crib that was removed to allow the pouring of new concrete floors.  The beams are believed to be white oak and in amazingly good condition considering that for around 100 years the bare ground was in contact with the beams.  The beams appear to have been used as plates that rested on the foundation and supported wall posts.  We have, as yet, not determined how the beams will be reused, but pehaps for mantel work.