A Field Guide to Farm Buildings and Structures of the United States

A guide for architectural historians and interested amateurs

The Idea

I came up with the idea for this field guide as the result of troubles I and my fellow architectural historians had in identifying, dating, and describing, the variety of farm buildings and structures we come across in the process of architectural survey.

I knew enough to be dangerous. I knew, for instance, that one surveyor's tobacco barn was actually a corncrib, but I didn't know how that structure related to the history of crop storage and what other forms such storage structures could take.

One important thing to remember is that farm buildings were usually designed with function rather than style or form in mind. A farmer would see a neighbor's barn or corncrib or silo that seemed to work well, and he or she would want one of their own. But..,they would want it with a few changes or improvements, thus, the American agricultural landscape.

Because this is a large project and I have limited spare time, it is not yet finished. I have put it on-line to give you an idea of the scope of the website. Those subjects indicated as "under construction" are not yet ready for viewing. I hope those labels will gradually be taken down during the next year or so.

This website is intended to be an on-going collaborative digital guide to the tremendous variety of agricultural buildings on the landscape. I will add new buildings that I discover as my travels take me to new places, and I hope you, too, will feel free to contribute your own finds. If you spot any errors or omissions, want your favorite type of outbuilding documented, or simply have comments and questions, I would be most grateful to hear from you (dcmcvarish@gmail.com) Thank you for looking over my project.

A few more things...I have no training in web design, so bear with me. Any suggestions to improve the design would be most welcome. Also, each screen you see is a work in progress. I have a lot of information I would like to include, but this information will be added incrementally to each section. So, check back every once in a while. There may be more to see.

Types of Buildings and Structures

General Barns

General barns include the Dutch,English,English Lake, Erie Shore, basement, bank, Mountai and crib types.

Dairy Farms and Production

Building and structure types in this section include dedicated dairy barns, including Wisconsin, gambrel, and Gothic arch, round, and pole types; variety of cow housing systems milk houses, silos, creameries, cheese factories, and milk stations.

General Outbuildings

(under construction)

Types of outbuildings described include those associated with food storage and production, transportation and equipment store

Specialized Outbuildings

(under construction)

Among the outbuildings described in this section are sugar houses, sorghum sheds, rice and sugar cane production buildings

Ethnic Outbuildings

(under construction)

Ethnic outbuildings, primarily those associated with European ethnic groups are usually found in particular areas of the country. The largest percentage of ethnic outbuildins is found in the states of the upper Midwest.

Poultry Facilites

(under construction)

Poultry facilities include those constructed for both chickens and turkey and include brooder houses, chicken houses, turkey houses, broiler houses

Livestock Facilities

(under construction)

Livestock facilities considered in this chapter include those associated with beef cattle, sheep and lambs, pigs, and horses.