2.18.2015

Washington barns

If there's one piece of architecture I love in this world, it's barns. Horse barns, cattle barns, hop barns. English and Dutch gambrel. Gables and broken gables. Salt box. Hip. Bank barns and gothic barns and round truss barns. Monitor barns. Octagon barns.

     Broken gable barn outside of Ellensburg, WA

Chalk it up to my lifelong love of horses. When I realized, at a very young age, that barns were a pretty good indication that horses were nearby, my horse passion grew to include a passion for barns, too. And when I grew up, I came to appreciate the architecture of barns, and just how practical they can be:  the ultimate examples of form fitting function.

The only regret I have about the small farm we own, is that it doesn't have a barn. I always wanted one of my own, preferably the same vintage as my 1923 farmhouse. Our area is full of barns that date to the teens and twenties, built by the Finnish farmers who settled the valley I live in. But if my property ever had a barn, I've not found any signs of it.

One of my favorite barns stood on the horse farm next door, a huge broken gable barn that was built c. 1910. It sheltered horses for decades before neglect and age took its toll. One day I drove out our road and glanced toward the barn, as I always did, and half the barn was gone. It had just tumbled to the ground. Within a week, the barn was torn down and gone, as if it had never existed.

When I retired three years ago, with a list in my hand of the things I wanted to do, photographing barns was at the top of the list. I had the notion that even if barns fall to the inevitable ravages of time, or are destroyed in the name of progress, if they're preserved in photographs, they'll never be forgotten.

I have a feeling that finding barns to photograph will become another lifelong passion.

Kibler barn on the Kibler family farm, Walla Walla

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos. It's sad that a lot of old barns are falling into disrepair. Good thing you're documenting some of these barns before they are gone forever.

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