Friends of Ohio Barns is pleased to announce yet another fabulous barn tour as part of our Ohio Barn Conference XXI. One of the largest doorways for early settlers into the fertile lands of Ohio was through Cincinnati, which was chartered as a town in 1802 and by 1850 had become America’s sixth largest city. We can safely surmise that most of the barns on our tour, not too far north of that river town, were built by the first few generations of those pioneers. We would like to do property title searches, family history research at the Preble County Historical Society and Ancestry.com profiles of our barn owners but that probably won’t happen before its time to board the buses. But we will at least have the great opportunity to stand inside of these great barns and if we listen closely we just might hear the stories they have to tell us.
Our first two stops will be at the McQuiston Family Farm where one early swing beam barn sits back the lane from a gorgeous brick home. We were all very tired by the end of our second day of scouting dozens of barns in pursuit of a “few great barns” and “cold called” these folks when someone in our group declared, “Look at that! We have to go see that barn! I can tell it’s very old!” Never wanting to get shot, we donned our FOB barn hats on our heads and with FOB brochures in hand we smiled broadly and knocked on the door. The lady sent us across the road to a house where no one answered. But hearing farm machinery in the distance we drove in that direction and found ourselves amidst trucks busy bringing in the corn harvest and we were promptly greeted by friendly owners. Excited by the prospect of learning the history of their barns they escorted us to the old barn behind the old brick house. What a lovely swing beam barn presented itself to us. We all pointed out unique features of the barn to the McQuistons who seemed pleased with the admiration she was receiving and agreed to let us put her on our tour. They even directed us to visit their other old barn just down the road a piece excusing themselves as the sun was setting and they had to get back to work bringing in the crops. The second McQuiston barn was just as beautiful, much larger and of a different style. Hard to say which was built first until I have the chance to hug their posts. Needless to say, our group of tired barnstormers felt happy and blessed to have discovered these two barns and wholeheartedly agreed to include them in our tour.
Our third stop will be at the Kuhn farm to take a look at a large late 1800’s gambrel barn. “Hold on there cowboy! She’s not what you think.” This is a much earlier hewn barn that evolved as farming practices evolved around that time. The original roof with its pole rafters was removed and replaced with a much taller gambrel roof to allow for more hay storage. Quipped its owner, “It’ll hold more straw than you wanna bale.”
The fourth stop is for lunch and two cups of coffee.
Stop five is where we see the five sided ridge beam. We don’t have the opportunity to see many hewn pentagonal ridge beams and this one is certainly a treat. Seven bents with a major-minor rafter system in her 40’x90’ frame. Could be as old as 1817? Would someone please come forward and offer to pay for dendrochronology?
Number six is Larry Snyder’s 40’x70’ hewn barn which exhibits raising holes in its wall posts. (We will explain what those are.) We learned that the original farmer bought the land because there was a limestone quarry on site which explains its beautiful stone wall at its bank. It also has a 20’ tall hand-riven hay hole through which rafter-high hay was tossed down to the animals in the barn’s basement.
Our final stop of the day is at the Krickenbarger Farm where we’ll have the chance to see one of Ohio’s round barns. This one is 60’ in diameter and 32’ to its peak. Built in 1908 it’s a fine example of farmers and barn builders working together to create barns capable of maximizing the efficiency and function of the modern agricultural practices of that day, just 112 years ago.
We know you’ll all enjoy this year’s tour. Pay attention to the weather forecast and bundle up. Be sure to wear boots because you all know what you’ll be stepping in. Get a good nights sleep and for Heavens sake, take lots of photos!
By: Dan Troth