Kibler barns

When we were in Walla Walla county this spring, we drove a lot of back roads in the MX-5. the first day we took an evening drive out Mill Creek Road, then wandered along Spring Creek. And around a bend, across from a brilliant green wheat field, I spotted the most perfect white farmhouse. We stopped for a closer look, then drove on, and slammed on the brakes again when we saw the barn:  the most perfect, immense barn, painted white like the house. I've never seen a barn of this style before.

Before we left town two days later, we retraced our tire tracks so I could photograph the barns, and learned that this farm was established in 1870 by the Kibler family. The barns are so unique I had to know more, so when we got home, I did a bit of research.

The Kibler family left an enduring legacy in the Walla Walla Valley, through the agricultural structures they built. Four barns were built from similar plans, each constructed for members of the extended family, and two of the Kibler Barns remain in the family to this day. The white barn on the original farmstead, built in 1918, was accepted in the first round of nominations to the Washington Heritage Barn register (along with my brother-in-law's family barn on Vashon Island).

My favorite of the four is across the green wheat fields from Kibler Farm. It's the biggest of the Kibler barns, painted red with white trim, and was built to stable 48 draft horses. Can't you just imagine this barn full of huge horses at the end of the day? The grooms rubbing each horse down after the day's work, tossing hay down from the loft into each manger, bedding each stall with fresh straw, the horses munching their evening hay. The best barns are horse barns.

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