Aug 05-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: August: Aug 05-06
Barn art    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Ian Soumis

Toivo from Toivola (Toivo) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 06:09 am:

Barns like this one out Chassell way are as much a work of art as they are practical for the farmer, storing his hay and housing his cattle. Some of these older structures are built so solid, they'll last a lot longer than most of us. Upon closer inspection of the full size version of the photo snapped by Ian Soumis', it looks like the lower portion of the barn may be built with a cordwood design. Just another classic example of pride in workmanship and the longevity that sort of ingenuity produced.

Speaking of pride, you'll be proud to bid on some of the great items up for grabs at the Still Waters silent auction.

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 07:17 am:

I've always wanted a building with a roof like this. Hank Holman of White City told me years ago when we worked together on the Ranger III of soaking lumber and nailing it to a form to shape the curved trusses for his barn. Had to be very time consuming but you could use cheaper boards, I suppose. Definitely leaves a large open space up in the loft.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 08:09 am:

great shot cous :)
I remember that old barn...and for anyone looking for a great evening ride..a place to see a lot of deer and even a bear or two once in awhile.
Plus the river is a great place to fish.

By Laurie B. (Ratherberiding) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 08:13 am:

There is so much history in the way our immigrant ancestors built their homes and barns, saunas and the like. I read a book once about the different styles the French Canadians used. A few years back at the Copper Country Homecoming this was the topic at the symposium at MTU.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 08:50 am:

We have a great many barns in Michigan. I once helped a farmer wire for a treadmill for his trotter horses and he took my upstairs in his main barn and there was a hardwood dance floor with seating all around for the Saturday night French dance gatherings of 100 years ago.To my knowledge the barn still stands on Post Road in Monroe County.

By k j (Kathiscc) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 09:38 am:

Ah, to be in the UP. We used to have a lot more cool, old barns around here- far northwest suburbs of Chicago- but most of the farms have been sold off (or auctioned off) to make way for the gigantic, big box houses in cookie cutter subdivisions. Way too many people down here anymore. I always wonder what these people do for a living, that they can afford $500,000 houses. Although, I have noticed- in my work-that you walk into some of these and they have no furniture in them. Just a big (really big) empty house. What a shame. Need to go North!

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 11:07 am:

I'm wondering if this barn is the one that is a favorite of my husband's. If so, it was featured in a Michigan barn calendar a few years ago and in a coffee table book of barns across America. Two of those barns were from Michigan, one from Chassell and the other the octagonal barn from the Thumb. I'll find out when he gets home if it's the same one.

By JH (Thumbgardener) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 11:45 am:

Several years ago when we were traveling through Indiana on our way down south, I noticed that most of the barns were painted white. In Michigan most were painted red. Does anyone know why that is. Also my husband's relatives in northern Alabama said they don't see many barns down there.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 12:21 pm:

this may be interesting, although nothing listed form the UP

this link has some good info on the red barnes and links

and a humerous explanation

By Jacobsville (Barb) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 12:31 pm:

I found this information at the How Stuff Works website
( )

In historically accurate terms, "barn red" is not the bright,
fire-engine red that we often see today, but more of a
burnt-orange red. As to how the oil mixture became
traditionally red, there are two predominant theories:

1. Wealthy farmers added blood from a recent slaughter to the
oil mixture. As the paint dried, it turned from a bright red to a
darker, burnt red.

2. Farmers added ferrous oxide, otherwise known as rust, to
the oil mixture. Rust was plentiful on farms and is a poison to
many fungi, including mold and moss, which were known to
grown on barns. These fungi would trap moisture in the wood,
increasing decay.

Regardless of how the farmer tinted his paint, having a red
barn became a fashionable thing. They were a sharp contrast
to the traditional white farmhouse.

By Richard A. Fields (Cherokeeyooper) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 01:25 pm:

There is a national orginization to foster barn conservation called BarnAgain. They are a great source of barn information. The barn in the picture is a classic Finnish Barn. Although common in the upper midwest and parts of the northwest, they are not that common to the country as a whole. To me there is something about an old barn that speaks to me. Even if it is old and falling down (like one along M69 in Whitney that I used to pass a lot. It took a special sort to try and farm in the U.P., and even more special (or stubborn) to try it in the Keewenaw. Thanks for the picture.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 03:36 pm:

white-milk cows
red- other than milk cows

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 05:40 pm:

Found the picture from my husband's "This Old Barn" book. It looks like the same one and both are "near Chassell". I can't tell from the above picture if the lower part is logs stacked sideways. The one I'm talking about is on 41 and the book calls it "a dairy barn, part of a Finnish homestead along the Sturgeon River. It was built in 1936. The lower level walls were made of foot-long tamarack logs stacked sideways in cement. For the roof, 1 inch tamarack boards were layered four deep, then covered with tin. Lengths of wood set in concrete provided a solid base for 'stove wood barns'."

By JH (Thumbgardener) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 07:14 pm:

Marsha, could you tell if the lower part is logs by clicking on the full size version link in Toivo's post? It does give a really close up look, but I can't tell.
That is a great picture.
Thanks for all the great links. I love barns. I grew up on a farm in the northern LP. I was the middle of 5 kids and spent lots of time playing in our barn. My 2 older brothers used to tell our cousins from the city that we fed the cows cocoa one day a week so the cows would give chocolate milk on that day. Some of the younger kids really believed that.

By Jon Cadwell (Jonc) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 08:28 pm:

I personally think they paint U.P. barns red so they can find 'em in the winter! Can you imagine trying to find your WHITE barn in a blizzard?


By tom pare (Einosunshine) on Sunday, August 6, 2006 - 02:23 am:

Great answer, Jonc. I love the picture and the super discussion: I always feel smart listening to you people discuss these pictures. And I can't get Eddfitz story out of my mind! I'd love to visit that barn. I work in the inner city of Detroit, and regularly show my students the historic parts of our neighborhood -- from Houdini to Reuther, the Purple Gang to Ford. My students could appreciate that barn!

By Liz B (Lizidaho) on Monday, August 7, 2006 - 11:34 am:

My brother still owns one of the white barns outside of Cary. He stores other folks's Big Toys inside it now! Lots of Homecoming floats have been built in that barn, too.

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