Recognizing the history of barns and farms this fall

The president of the Indiana Barn Foundation is encouraging people to notice the different features of barns as outdoor fall activities pick up.

Kent Yeager tells Brownfield, “fall is a great time to look at barns as leaves start to fall and you can see some of these barns much better. With people often tending to drive and pay more attention to the countryside with leaves changing color, it’s a great time to look at these barns.”

Yeager says barns are rural monuments that tell a story about farming.  

“What they mean to us as farmers is important and you can learn a lot about farming practices of the day and a lot about what the farming operation was all about then,” he says. “You can also learn a lot about communities, how communities developed, and different influences from people who moved in with different barn types and features.”

He says the Indiana Barn Foundation aims to help people recognize unique qualities of barns.

“One of the features of English barns, for example, is you enter on the gable side of the barn as opposed to the end. In Transverse Frame barns, you enter from the end,” he says. “They were a little better for airflow generally to get through the barn and especially well suited for livestock.”

Drivers may also see variations of Pennsylvania, Bank and Basement, Wisconsin Dairy, and Round Barns.

He says it’s critical to maintain and restore barns when possible.

“It’s great if people can completely restore one of these old barns, but not everyone can, and we realize that,” he says. “So, we want to try to help people understand how to preserve a barn. The first and most important thing is the roof. If you have a good roof, the barn is probably going to last for awhile and give you time to do something else to help maintain it. The foundation is the second thing. If nothing else, take pictures of the outside and inside of the barn. Take pictures of the features and workmanship that went into them. It will help you always at least have a memory of those barns.  

The Indiana Barn Foundation celebrated Hoosier Heritage Barn Week September 24-30. It also hosted its annual barn tour. This year’s tour took place in Daviess County and featured six heritage barns, including the historic Singleton Round Barn.

Click here for more information about the Indiana Barn Foundation and its efforts to save Hoosier barns.

Audio: Kent Yeager


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