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Round Barns Still Stand In Iowa
If you've ever wondered about the occasional round barn you see scattered around the countryside, you might be interested in a book written by an Iowa historian, "Without Right Angles".
The book, written by Lowell J. Soike, tells the story of round barns in Iowa. Much of the history of the barns in that state holds true for the rest of the country.
Most round barns are concentrated in the Midwestern dairy states. Iowa has 127 still standing but Wisconsin has identified 180. Indiana has 154, Michigan has 25 and Nebraska 36 while an eastern state, Vermont, has just 24.
The majority of round barns were built during two periods of history - the 1880's and between 1905 and 1920. However the earliest recorded round barn was a 16-sided barn built by George Washington in 1793.
Round, or octangular barns, have several advdntages. First they were cheaper to build because they would hold more than a rectangular barn with walls of the same height. Second, the roof of the barn was much stronger than rectangular barns. Third, the round design also made it easy to feed out of silos built at the center, allowing for a circular arrangement of livestock inside the structure.
"Without Right Angles," which lists the location and history of each of the 127 round barns still standing in Iowa, sells for $9.45, including postage.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lowell J. Soike, Office of Historic Preservation, E. 12th and Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5