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For the Love of our Disappearing Old Barns

Old BarnsDo old barns call to you as they do to me?  I love barns, I’ve always loved barns.  I can’t begin to recall the number of times I have said to my husband, “I want a barn”. 

I know that I’m not the only one with these feelings of affection, otherwise there wouldn’t be calendars and books about them.  So what exactly is it, why do we love old barns?  What do they say to us?

I’ve explored different reasons in my thoughts.  Are they a symbol of simplicity in a harried life?  Do we feel closer to our roots and natural living in a barn?  Are they remnants of a by-gone era, a chapter of American life that is quickly falling away into disrepair and loss that we aren’t ready to let go of?  I say yes to each of these reasons.  Each old barn that falls into decay is a loss for each one of us and for our children.   

Reasons for loss….

Besides the reasons that mother nature will inflict upon a barn to destroy it; fire, flood and storm, our barns fall to ruin because of the expense to maintain them. 

It’s difficult for a farmer to put time and money into a structure that isn’t nearly as useful to him as it once was.  The old barns weren’t built to hold the new modern equipment, or even to store the large round hay bales of today.  With the popularity of old barn wood and hardware, farmers can receive a great deal of money if they sell them.  There are actually bidding wars for the right to tear down and salvage old barns now when at one time a farmer would have had to pay someone to take it away.

Some are bought by millionaires and are dismantled piece by piece and moved far away to be reassembled and turned into a home or a business.  Others are bought for the wood to be milled into flooring.  In certain ways our love of old barns is actually increasing the rate of their demise.

Can you join with me in saying that you feel a stab of pain every time you see that a farm has been sold so the land can be turned into yet another housing development?

A positive note….

There is a renewed interest in agriculture with people choosing to adapt a more natural lifestyle.  The historical value of these old barns we love is being recognized more and more by some of our young entrepreneurs.  Farmers markets are very popular where you can purchase fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats grown right on the farm where you’re shopping.  Food co-ops where naturally grown food is the standard have also increased in popularity.

Ever wondered why barns are often red?

Ready-made paint was not available, so farmers had to mix their own in an attempt to cover their barn with something that would protect and seal the wood.   The ingredients they used were skimmed milk, lime, red iron oxide and linseed oil.  Iron oxide is essentially rust and it was the rusty color of the iron oxide that gave the paint it’s red coloring.  The rusty “Barn red” color has remained the traditional color for American barns.

My affection for this icon of American life led me to begin taking pictures of them in our travels.  These are just some of them I thought you might enjoy!

Old Barns

Old barn falling into disrepair.

Old Barns

Old barn that has been well maintained.

Old Barns

Another well maintained barn.

Old Barns

Small barn peeking out above the corn crop.

Old Barns

Old Barns

Very old barn in disrepair.

Old Barns

Beautiful old stone bank barn. Bank barns allowed the farmer to drive into the second floor of the barn for storing hay, feed, etc. leaving the first floor for stock.

Old Barns

Old Barns

Stone and wood barn.

Old Barns

Old Barns

Old red barn being overcome by growth.

Old Barns

Three cupolas on an old white barn barely visible above the trees.

Old Barns

Another small red barn.

Do old barns call out to you? #oldbarns #farmersmarkets #farm Click To Tweet

Old barns

Old Barns

The old stone barns are beautiful when maintained!

Old Barns

Old Barns

Sign warning to “watch out for farm equipment” with barn and silos in background.

Old Barns

Stone bank barn.

Old Barns

Farm with barns and silos.

Old Barns

Beautiful mural painted on the side of a barn along the Lincoln Highway.

Old Barns

Round barn built in 1914.

Old Barns

The Trostle family barn. It sits on the Gettysburg battlefield and still displays the cannon ball hole in the front obtained in the battle on July 2, 1863.

There are many organizations now that are dedicated to saving our historic barns.  Some of these are:

I will be sharing this post on some of the lovely link parties found on my “Where I Party” page!

Thank you so much for reading today!

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{ 10 comments }
Bernadette Laganella August 22, 2016, 8:29 am

Teresa, these are lovely photos. You should make a collage from them.
Bernadette Laganella recently posted…52 WEEKS OF THANKFULNESS – WEEK 9My Profile

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Teresa August 22, 2016, 9:45 am

Thank you, and thanks for stopping by and reading!

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Mary-the boondocks blog August 22, 2016, 10:44 am

Thank you for sharing these beautiful barns with us. I especially like the stone barns and the one with the mural on it.
Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted…A Vintage Suitcase Makeover – η  ανακαίνιση της παλιάς vintage βαλίτσαςMy Profile

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Teresa August 23, 2016, 12:38 am

I love the stone ones too and the one with the mural was beautiful. The talent and work that went in to that was amazing! Thanks for stopping by!

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Grandma Kc August 24, 2016, 9:34 am

LOVE old barns! I am assuming you never had a barn growing up? They are absolutely magical places when you are young. So many great places to hide and so many hidden treasures to uncover. The link I included is the story of the Old Red Barn of my childhood! Thanks for sharing yours.

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Teresa August 25, 2016, 6:48 am

I had a very small barn that my dad built for about 5 years of my young life and my sister and I played around the barn and in the pasture all the time. We loved it. One of my memories is being chased by a mother hen around the barn for getting to close to her babies! I can’t wait to read about your Old Red Barn, it sounds wonderful.

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Kristine August 24, 2016, 2:37 pm

Really lovely article! Beautiful photography too♥ I love photos of ‘country life’ and barns are the epitome of that. And I appreciate the added trivia on why barns are red. I actually never wondered why, but now I know 😉 visiting from #smallvictoriessunday

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Teresa August 25, 2016, 6:52 am

Thanks you Kristine. I love country life photos too and scenic photos. I like to look at a picture and be able to think, “I’d like to go there”. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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Cathy Lawdanski August 24, 2016, 10:02 pm

Teresa, my grandparents were Kansas farmers and I remember playing in the white barn with black trim on the farm. The cows were milked on the bottom floor and we cousins played in the hay bales on the top. I can still see that farm in my mind’s eye. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing with #overthemoon

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Teresa August 25, 2016, 6:58 am

Hi Cathy, Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you lived close by so you could spend lots of time at your grandparents. It sounds like it was such a wonderful place to be! Do you know if that barn is still standing?

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