Sunday, May 13, 2012

Barn of the Year

Friends of Ohio Barns named the Poorman Barn the Ohio Barn of the year in the division of Agriculture Use.  This is a real honor, but more importantly a piece of history that should be written down with pictures included to be passed from generation to generation.

My brother, sister and three cousins are the seventh generation raised on the Poorman Farm.  My cousin Jamie and I are currently flirting with ideas on how to compile this history, pictures and story.  We have thought scrapbook, there are a lot of pictures. She has taken some video.  If you have ideas please share.

For now I am blogging.

The Pennsylvania German bank barn with an overhanging forebay, was built in 1819. It may have been started as much as a year or more earlier as the stone and timber was cut and prepared during the off season, as planting and harvesting were a priority.  Hewn white oak timbers, cut on the farm were framed using the scribe rule technique with some dovetail joinery included.  All timbers are hewn including bracing.  The barn has double framing throughout, possibly to give extra strength to the overhanging forebay and an addition added to the upper side of the the barn.  Double framing may be due to the addition to the barn in 1854.  It almost appears to have a double overhang.  The stone basement has a series of horse stalls and doors exiting beneath the forebay.  The barn has a slate roof, which at some time in the 20th century was raised slightly over the forebay for increased space and possibly for the installation of wind doors.  The main door handles are cut in the shape of the phases of the moon.  Initials of previous generations of Poormans are etched in the stone foundation.

One of my favorite parts of our old family barn is the detail of the moon phases they cut into the doors for handles.

Marriage marks indicating scribe and rule construction.  They labeled beams with roman numerals and designed the barn on the ground and then those numbers helped with the assembly.

A view of hand hewn timber, including dovetail notching.

This date stone is mounted on the gable end facing the road. The stone is approximately 5-6 inches thick and 3-3.5 feet in height. Name, date and designs are etched into the stone. Designs include the heart and ancient stylized swastika commonly seen on gravestones of Pennsylvania German settlers.

An older photograph taken prior to 1906, shows eight well spaced owl holes or ventilation holes on the gable end of the barn.  The old photograph also shows that the barn may have had a wooden shake roof as late as the early 1900's.

This barn is still used every day for agriculture.  Hay and equipment is stored in the barn and cattle use the forebay for shelter from the weather.  All of our 4-H livestock projects were also kept in this barn from the late 80's until early 2000.

The Poorman barn was one of several log and timber frame buildings to have tree ring dating performed on it in the summer of 2011.  The results indicate that the trees used were indeed felled in 1818-1819.  and may of them had begun growing in the early 1600's.  Some of the trees dated were felled in 1854 corroborating the timing of the addition to the barn.  All of the results of the tree ring dating project support and reinforce the traditionally accepted age of the barn.

Nine core samples were taken from eight of the Poorman Barn timbers.  An increment-coring device was used to remove a core from each of the logs.  Although the four sides of the larger logs used in the frame of this barn had been shaved and squared, they attempted to take the samples from the corners of

The stones for the foundation and basement of the barn were quarried on the property about 150 yards from where the barn stands.  A few of the quarried blocks were rejected and are still lying on the ground at the old quarry site.

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