9.01.2013

Octagon barns

Back in 2007, while on a round-the-state geocaching road trip, we stumbled across the most amazing barn. It was getting on toward dark, and the light was so perfectly beautiful. We never did find the cache that was nearby, and we never forgot this beautiful barn.

Last spring we headed off on another road trip, and I wanted to find the barn again... and find the geocache. This time I had a source of information, the Washington Heritage Barns website. My sister and brother-in-law's barn is on the registry, and chances were good that this octagon barn would also be listed there. I found the barn easily, but was surprised to learn that there are ten barns of this type in Washington, and two in Whitman county.

Our "lost" barn is known as the Steinke Round Barn, located on WA-23, 5 miles west of the town of St. John. The barn was built in 1916 by Max Steinke on land purchased by his father, Theodore Steinke, around 1900.


The other barn in Whitman county is known as the T.A. Leonard barn, and it's on the Old Moscow highway about 1.5 miles SE of Pullman. Located on the eighty year-old family farm in the wheat-producing Palouse region, the Leonard Barn has remained relatively unchanged since it was built in 1917. It's green, which is one of my favorite colors for a barn. And besides being a Washington Heritage Barn, it's been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986, and photographs of the barn are on the Library of Congress website. If you're curious what an octagon (or round) barn looks like on the inside, you can check it out here.

Last spring we spent quite a bit of time photographing the barn... and we did find the geocache. Next road trip around the state, I'm pretty sure our route will take us to each of the other nine barns.

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