Amish Acres

Amish Acres® Historic Farm and Heritage Resort is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is America's most complete Amish heritage experience featuring historic interpretation, culinary and performing arts, lodging, and shopping.

Monday, November 27, 2006

How do you shingle a barn?

Now that a second fan of this blog has been identified, I am emboldened to post even more obscure observations. To my knowledge we are reshingling the Schwietzer bank barn in the historic area of Amish Acres for only the fourth time since 1876. The original wood shingles were covered by five groove galvanized steel roofing at the turn of the century. When the farm was purchased for preservation and restoration the metal and original shingles were removed. The second covering of wood shingles lasted until this year.

Now they are being replaced in time for winter. When the carpenter crew exposed the slat sheeting I was reminded that the perlins are in place where the two original cupolas were supported. These cupolas were added to the barn for ventilation. They were likely removed when the metal roof was added. The slatted ventilators on the walls of the barn were part of the strategy of prevent fires that were started in barns filled with new mown hay that could create enough heat to ignite itself. After a number of decades it was observed that barns with ventilators burned as often as those without ventilators; therefore, an expensive practice installing a ventilator system in new barns became less and less popular. As you drive down a rural road you can bracket a barn's age by the inclusion or exclusion of architecturally attractive ventilators. Albert Kuhns told me during our initial restoration the the Prairie Farmer newspaper ran a contest back in the 1930's based on photographs of distinctive barns that readers were asked to identify along federal highways throughout the midwest and this barn was one of them featured. I have spent nearly 40 years looking for a copy of that issue without success.


Blogger Kevin Eby said...

Nice post.. I love the educational and historical content. I'm sure there are many fans out there!

5:44 PM  

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