Wisconsin’s Culture --- Classic Barns, or ones I just think are neat

This editor confesses, as a city boy, to loving barns. He really loves Wisconsin barns. Not the new, metal ones, though it is understandable why farmers are switching to them. But the classic barns, even ones fighting to stay upright, are a part of our culture here. Wisconsin has a rich history of barn architecture, and many in the state are faced with whether to preserve their barn or not. If I get a charge out of a barn I see, I flick it and post it.

I found this farm own the corner of Rockvale and Dike Roads, on the southeast side of the Horicon Marsh. The buildings were pretty old and had taken a beating from the environment. After seeing it, I decided to show such farms in this section.

There are many such farms throughout Wisconsin. I have found that many of these are in far worse shape than this one, but are still being used. In short, they often remain operational. I can imagine how hard and expensive it is for many farms to update these buildings. I have also learned that builders often covet the wood from such buildings to use in building modern homes. That kind of wood is often used for flooring, beaming, doors and fireplace mantels, decorative ceilings, and even outside siding.


At the point where CH CC abruptly heads south and CH SS shoots east near Lund, I looked to the south and spotted a neat round barn. From a distance, she looked like she had been rehabilitated.


This barn scene to me is a classic Wisconsin scene, although I suppose the hard core would object to the metal building to the right. It looked to me like the owners have over the years updated their buildings. It is on CH G about 1.5 miles north of Hwy 121 near Pigeon Falls, though I believe it is in the town of Osseo. It's John Larson's Valley Ridge Farm.


This barn, actually part of a barn complex, intrigued me as I was driving toward Wausau on CH A, just west of 9th Lane in northern Marathon County. It is in the town of Hamburg (Hamburg 936), population about 900. Let's look at a couple more shots of the complex.


This is more of the complex, to the right of the first shot.


And now from the back side. Quite a spread.


You don't find barns more Wisconsin than this! She is outside McKinley on Rt 48.


This neat barn is on Hwy 113 just before you pull into downtown Lodi, on the left side. Another look follows.




I spotted this fabulous barn scene on CH X east of Thorp and before Withee. There's a great story to go with it. The owner saw me taking the photo and walked over. I told him I was taking photos for my Wisconsin Central web site, he laughed, and asked me if I remembered Fox Run Equestrian Center. Of course I did, I took photos there back in 2006 and published a story.


I asked him if he was the guy training the young woman on a horse the day I was there back in 2006. and sure enough he was. This had to be a one in a billion chance coincidence that I would be here on this day, on this road, and spot this barn scene and stop to photograph it. His name is Bob Calmes — you'll see him, sort of, in the next photo of the barn scene I took, but this is he training Megan Originer on "Doc." He sold Fox Run and bought this farm. He bragged how beautiful it was during the Christmas holidays and urged me to come back and take a look, which I will.


Like I said, you'll see Bob sort of. That's him walking my way, dressed the same as he was when I saw him at Fox Equestrian! What a great guy.


The lone ranger sitting out there in the field. I did not mark down where I took this shot. I was in Vernon County, filled with hills and valleys. I have since received a message from a reader who provides location and some interesting history.

"On your website you show a barn you call the lone ranger--I think--in Vernon County--I know just where it is. I think the property is owned by a Baldwin and it is on Hwy 33 about 2 miles from where Wild Cat Mountain Park starts--there is a cemetery just a bit before it in the same valley--a rare African American cemetery where many of the local people of African American descent are still buried--this valley was called Cheyenne Valley and several of the early homesteaders were African Americans who came up from the underground railroad. The Burr Westlyn Church (church I grew up in nearby) was one of the churches supporting the underground railroad so I figure that's why they settled here. Speaking of barns--many of the area's famous round barns were built/designed by one of those African American settlers.... I found your website because I googled "barns of Wisconsin."

This is beautiful country. If you want to explore and hunt for the barn, take Hwy 33 out of Ontario toward Hillsboro. After about six miles you will pass Townline Road on your right. Keep going a bit further. When you get to the side rail on the right side of the road, slow down and start looking to your right for about another half mile or so. Enjoy.

I've had a devil of a time figuring out where to post this set of photos, so I chose Classic Barns, but you'll see there's much more to this one than just the barn!

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This great old red barn is located on CH DL in eastern Sauk County, west off Hwy 78, and between Bluff Road and Parfrey's Glen, and close to Devil's Head resort. But here is the added wonder that goes with this barn.


This is, I guess, a very old gas station being used as a sort of museum piece these days.


Take your pick!




Heres the whole scene!


On a photo tour of southwest Wisconsin, through the Western Uplands Geographic Province. Ran across this neat barn in Caledonia. I guess it's "Miller Time!" On Hwy 78 west of I-39, western Columbia County southwest of Portage.


One does not often see green barns, but here is oneon Pennington Road in Prentice, Price County. I wrote a story about her, entitled, "The Green Barn on Pennington Road."


I fell in love with this barn scene. She’s an old barn, but standing in the field like this she sure looked wonderful. This was taken off Arneson Hill Lane which runs off CH D south of Whitehall, Trempealeau County.


South of Tomahawk in Lincoln County, and on the south side of the Spirit Flowage, is CH O, which runs parallel to the flowage. I took it to the west. In typical “get lost ride” fashion, I turned to the left, to the south on Swamp Rd, a gravel road with plenty of pot holes and ruts! I stayed on Swamp for its full length and saw very few signs of human life. Returning back toward Tomahawk, I spotted this neat old barn in a very well kept field off to the side of the road. There was a home nearby. After seeing so much wilderness, this surprised me. I don’t know how I missed it on the way down Swamp Rd, but I found her on the way back!


I headed out of Lodi both on Hwy 113 and came to a road marked Rustic Road, which I always like to take. It turned out is was named Chrislaw Rd., just south of Okee. What a wonderful scene this is. I could see an escarpment in the hill, part of the Niagara Escarpment.


Spotted this old guy on Hwy 161 northwest of Nelsonville in Portage County. She has seen her better days, but she still presents a wonderful photo and memory. out


Well, this barn is a little ragged, could use some paint at some point, but she intrigued me. Built in 1900, it’s the KKJ Farm on the corner of CH D and Hagen Road in Buffalo County. I noted on the mail box that the Hagen family lives here. I like this barn.


Saw this house and its old barn on Hwy 83 next to the Tichigan State Wildlife Area. Neat! Here are some other shots of this old guy.






This was his partner out there alone.


The Rose Hill barn, built in 1918, Racine County as seen from Hwy 20 just west of I-94.


This barn scene is on Soppa Rd, off Hwy 95 east of Arcadia, Trempealeau County.


This was an exciting find. We were on Walnut Road somewhere between Red Rock and Wiota, Lafayette County, and out of no where here shows up this marvelous round barn, in a setting that would knock your socks off.


Look carefully, and you’ll see a little black dog just to the left of that clump of three small evergreens. This was a great area to explore, south Mindoro, on Hwy 108, we spotted this one on Severson Coulee Rd. Severson Coulee is a valley in La Crosse County.


This barn, and photo shot, is among my favorite, a small barn facility nestled among a corn crop, on Kate Ave. off Hwy 27 near Leon, Monroe County. The ride on Kate is a lot of fun. I recommend it.


She’s an old url, but lovely. Found her 4-mile Road in Marathon City, Marathon County.


We were on our way back to Wausau, with some sightseeing in between, and I have to tell you, you drive through that Illinois for hour after hour, and then come across this barn scene at W1063 in the Town of Rubicon, Dodge County, and first you know you are back in Wisconsin, and second you are really happy to be back in Wisconsin. This is classic Wisconsin all the way.


I fell in love with this barn and the whole scene instantly. She is on CH K outside Oconomowoc, Waukesha County. This barn is in the region of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Route and the Moraine itself.


Chase, Wisconsin is about 20 miles northwest of Green Bay in Oconto County. What has come to be known as the Chase Stone Barn was built in 1903 and is on the State and National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the last surviving all-fieldstone barns in the country. The town is currently in the process of raising funds to help restore the barn and develop the park. The stones were gathered from local farm fields over a century ago, however their origin was Canada. Massive glaciers pushed and tumbled the stone to the Wisconsin region during three known ice ages over the past 70,000 years. Some of the stones are over 2 billion years old! We did a story about it. Go to story.


I’ll have to admit, this could be a house or a barn, or a large storage shed. I’m treating it as a barn, with a big “welcome”sign on her. It was located just outside Mindoro in La Crosse County, on CH VV just north of CH T.


This is the Nelson Homestead Dairy Farm, a H.L. Everson Property, nicknamed, we think, “Sjaahem.” In Lafayette County, she is on CH G just north of Hwy 81.


K/K Farm on CH O between CH N and Hwy 29, Marathon County, btween Marathon City to the west and Wausau to the east. Hard to get more pretty a setting than this.


I spotted this old barn on the corner of Marathon Rd. and CH NN just east of Marathon in the county by that name. It was in a gorgeous setting, too good to simply pass by without a photo shoot and a breath of fresh air.


Ken Christian grew up in Wausau, left a long time ago, and has lived in London for some 19 years, but comes back to Wausau a couple times each year to visit his brother. He came across this web site and conveyed how he loves to roam the countryside here and take images as well. He alerted us to this round barn on 60th Ave. south of Marathon CH A in the town of Maine. I went out to take a look, and it was fun. This barn was moved in 2006 from its original location about a half-mile away and is now part of Willow Springs Gardens, a growing effort to preserve our history. This barn is over 100 years old and is undergoing a rehab effort.


Heading north on CH A in Wood County, in the Village of Richfield, south of Hwy 10, I came across this old barn. I had never seen one like this. It sure caught my attention. So much so I pulled into the drive, dying to see what was on the other side. A man emerged from his home, I explained who I was, apologized for bothering him, but asked him if I could see the other side of the barn. He walked me over to it, shut the garage door, and I shot this next shot.


Old historic barn on Elm Rd near Park Ave, Shawano. I did a story about this barn --- A most interesting old barn in small town Hutchins. I commend it to you.


This round barn is at Schuster's Playtime Farm at 1326 Hwy 12 & 18, in Deerfield, Dane County, east of Madison. It was built in 1903 and has been through many rough times due to the weather. The Schuster family is renovating it to preserve it. I have done a story about this barn and commend it to you.


This is what is known as an "old fashioned barn raising," on Craig Road in Edgerton, Dane County. The red barn is on land now owned by Dan and Connie Bussey. They are renovating it, but needed more room. So he hooked up with Craig "The Rooster" Roost who specializes in old barns. Craig found an old barn falling out of use, disassembled it, carted it over to this land, and he and his team of volunteers is reassembling it and connecting it to the red barn, he old way, beam by beam. Quite a feat. Look up Craig Roost on Facebook and you'll see some great photography.


I call this the "see through barn." I spotted her near Antigo, Langlade County, but forgot to write down where. If memory serves, I saw her on CH H which runs parallel to Hwy 45 through Antigo.


I'm a soft touch for red barns, especially when portrayed against the white snow and blue sky. This one, originally built in 1908, over 100 years ago, appears to have been refurbished. It is on CH D, south of Norrie in Marathon County, very close to the junction with CH OO.


Opper's Mallard Acres, State Road, Birnamwood, Shawano County is about as picturesque as you can get. If I were a guessing man, I would say that "in the day," the little attachment to the left might have served as the quarters for the farm while the larger building served as the barn. Today there is a family home to the right and out of the photo. Neat!


Here's a farm view that anyone can fall in love with, outside Columbus in Columbia County on Hwy 73. The setting is the first to grab you, then the dark color offset by the white trim. The larger barn is in need of a roof job, but wonderful to look at nonetheless, all next to a growing cornfield.


This old barn is most interesting, found on Hwy 73 north of Edgarton in Dane County. Today it serves as a Fireplace and Flooring Professionals business center. It is called a "gambrel roof" barn. A gambrel roof generically means that it has two sides, one with a shallower slope above the steeper one. The beek overhang at the end, or roof projection, provides extra protection when working through the doors top side. Usually there are no internal walls or posts, increasing the space upstairs.


This is a fairly famous barn, we call it "The Oil Barn," located on Hwy 52 heading out of Wausau, Marathon County. Quite appropriate for today, a reminder of what built this country and what we need much more of from our own shores.


We call this the CH X Barn, located on, yes, CH X in Monroe County, west of Cashton. CH X west out of Cashton is a "must drive" on a bright wonderful day. This is a dazzling area of hills and greens. This was April 2008. Much of the wonder of this barn is its setting. You want to buy it and live in it right away.


This is the "1910 Barn," on CH M in LaGrange, Monroe County. Unlike many other farms we saw in this, April 2008, this farm had a full bin of corn. The hilly setting for this farm is terrific.


Justin Trails, outside Sparta, Monroe County, is today a B&B resort of fabulous quality. We stayed there. The owners rent the land and this barn to others who farm the surrounding lands, which are themselves magnifico.



These two photos are fun. Riding along Hwy 34 toward US 10 in Portage County, we came across these mighty old farm structures that were simply too neat to pass by. They stand in a field near a more modern home and office of White Lily Welding in Eau Pleine. Love 'em.


This is the Wahl Farm barn, built in 1901, just about on the corner of Mondeaux Dr. and CH D in central Taylor County, close to Mondeaux Flowage.


She's small, but she's out there, in Richland County's Western Uplands.


We call this the Blenker Barn, because she sits in the Town of Blenker on CH F in Wood County. She looks like a Fieldstone barn topped off with wood.


Spotted this barn on a mighty cold winter day in Price County, on Hultman Lake Road. We call her the Hultman Barn.