Monday, June 1, 2015

Barns, Houses and Schools

I grew up around barns most of my life and someday, I would love to have a barn of my own. I'm not sure what I would do with my barn other than have a heck of a wood working shop where I could spread out and not spend most of my time shuffling equipment to this corner or the next. Perhaps I would just sit in the loft and watch the sunlight stream in through the mow doors.

Anyway, the barn show above is a barn I have driven by most of my life and is one of only two barns, in which I would buy the property solely for the barn. It is a huge barn and every time I drive by, I imagine myself living in one wing, the kids in the other with my huge wood working shop occupying the middle. I've often wondered who built that barn and for what reasons. I imagine they were wealthy because that is about three times the size of any other barn I've seen in this area.

About ten miles down the road from the barn at the top of this post is this place, site of my childhood home. The tree on the left is where I spent many a summer day playing in my sandbox in the shade.  It is the first house I have memories of living inside and I can still draw a map of the layout of the house which was a small two bedroom, one bath bungalow. The house itself stood there until about ten years ago when it was finally torn down due to years of neglect. When I last lived in it 35 years ago, it was a bit rough around the edges then and it never improved. I don't know who owns the property now but these days it is utilized for storage by the looks of it.

Just a block and a half away from the above house is the above school where I attended kindergarten. The wing on the right side of the building was where my classroom was and I remember many a day playing inside it and watching the traffic pass by on the highway out front. I don't know when this building ceased to be an elementary school but it has been at least two decades ago, probably more. Since that time, it has been a private residence to a couple who planted their orchard and garden out front. About ten years ago, they propped up the walls of my kindergarten classroom with wooden boards and it has been that way every since. Amazingly, this was my first school I attended and the only one that remains standing. On one bit of a side note, I still see my art teacher from that school occasionally around town and we still say hello.

The building on the right was the music building of where I attended most of my elementary school years. Kindergarten was spent in the building previously shown and first grade in the urban jungle that is the capital of our state. That building has long since been torn down and rebuilt. In the above picture, I attended second through fifth grade music classes and where the attached building on the left is, stood the auditorium where I played high school sports and acted in various plays and programs for the rest of my undergraduate career. It was the nicest school building of all that I had the privilege of attending but sadly was the first to be torn down after the school closed. It was a nice well built brick building but had been built with wooden stairs which for a school, it highly frowned upon by state fire inspectors.

Five miles up the road from the elementary school is the former site of my high school where I attended from 6th to 12th grades. All that remains were the outside basketball and tennis courts which sat in front of the school building. Both of my parents attended this school and even back in their day, there was talk of closing down the school and merging with bigger school districts. That continued on when I was going to school there and even after my younger brother graduated from there. Probably about ten years after I left, they finally closed the school down and it was only a year or two later that they tore the old school building down. A young boy who used to ride our school bus and was one of the last graduating classes from the school, eventually bought the land from the city and lives in the music building which is just out of side behind the vine covered courts.

Finally, I started this post by saying there are two places I would buy just for the barns on them. This is the second of those places. Although round barns in this area aren't rare, they are also not very common. This is one of the larger and more elaborate round barns and has a storied history as a sales pavilion for livestock. In fact, it is on the state register of historic buildings. It is also for sale. I think it would be a great place to fix up into a residence with literally a view that is almost 360 degrees around with all the windows. However, the current owners wants too much money for it and pretty much wants to sell only the house and the postage stamp worth of land it sits on. The problem is that out of view are a half dozen outbuildings that he would be continuing to use along with all the farm land surrounding the barn. If I were to buy the place and spends tens of thousands of dollars to fix the place up, I would want all the buildings along with more land around to protect my investment. On a side note, when I was a senior in high school, we took a tour of the barn and were seriously considering holding our senior prom on the top floor of this barn. However, the floors had too many holes in them that would have to be repaired and we were worried about the liability aspect of girls with dresses having to climb a ladder to get up to the loft.


sage said...

Thanks for the tour. That would have been a memorable "Senior Prom"! All but one of my schools still exist and the one that doesn't (Bradley Creek where I attended the 4-6 grade) was rebuilt down the road after an arsonist burned it down a few years after I'd graduated from college.

Ed said...

Sage - It seems kind of strange to me looking back that much of my life was spent along a 30 mile stretch of one particular highway.

Bone said...

I love the 360 view of the last one! It seems there are way more barns in the midwest than around here anymore.

One of my friend's parents had a small barn out behind their house (and I suppose still do) when we were in school. I'm not sure what they did with the barn, if anything, but we camped out a time or two up in the loft. It was pretty cool.

Ed said...

Bone - I noticed the number of barns in the midwest too. I suppose it has to do with relative age (compared to the much older east) and the fact that we are one of the most productive crop areas in the U.S. and barns are needed to store the produce.

Anonymous said...

I like the barns.
I get why they are hipped like that, space. What I'm far less certain is what they put in them. Hay, yes. But why the number of floors. They are too far apart to be used as drying floors for grain. Is it at all possible tobacco was grown in that area. Or hops ?.

edifice rex said...

That round barn is super cool, and I also think would a really great house. Too bad the guy isn't making a more desirable deal.

warren said...

I love old barns...everyone is putting up pole buildings now it seems and they have no character. They serve a purpose but aren't interesting like the old pics!