When I was growing up, everyone had a barn. Course back then everyone lived on a farm that’s just the way it was. Barns told a story, like how well your farm was producing and what kind of farmer you were. Mostly though they were the kind of barns you imagine when people talk about barns. There was one fella whose barn everyone knew cause it weren’t like any of the others.
George Collette’s place was just east of the old Main Highway and Meridian Road. I knew him as Mr. Collette back then. I was only a kid, and us kids didn’t go calling adults by their first names lessen we wanted a whooping. Well, Mr. Collette was a man of efficiency as he would tell anyone who would listen, and the most labor-saving of barns was a round barn. You heard right, a round barn.
He didn’t need much prodding to get him to recount the reasoning behind his decision to build a round barn. Seems some fellas over at the University, that’d be the University of Illinois, had built round barns as part of their Agricultural Experiment Stations. Mr. Collette had visited the University and one barn, the Dairy Experiment Barn had impressed him enough so as to inspire him to build one for himself.
The barn boasted a silo in the middle to make it easier to feed the dairy cows. That along with other efficiencies, he said lead to greater milk productivity. He was also quick to mention he housed fifty purebred Holstein cows in his revolutionary barn. The Holstein was the premier breed for milk production. Centuries of breeding developed an animal with the exact characteristics needed to obtain optimal milk production from a dairy animal. He could go on for hours.
But progress moved us forward and people don’t live on farms or have barns or worry over breeds of dairy animals. I grew up and George and I were right friendly. He’s gone now nearly twenty years. Every now and again I get out just east of the old Main Highway and Meridian Road. His barn is still there, and it don’t look all that bad. Some fancy city folks came out and hung a plaque on it. It is now on some list of “Historic Places”. I don’t know much about history, to me, it was just the way we lived.
For more information on Round Barns click here.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer