What’s in THERE? – Barns

Posted: January 19, 2018

Old barns are often like giant treasure chests: full of intriguing items and construction details that are hints of times gone by. Here are a few details you might see in old barns found locally.

Hayloft or haymow – Many old barns were designed to store hay or straw in an upper “loft” area for livestock housed below. Haylofts are also called haymows. In this word, “mow” rhymes with “cow” and means a pile of hay, grain, or the place where they are stored.

Ladders – How do you get to the hayloft in an old barn? Not by stairs, but by climbing a ladder. Ladders in historic barns are nothing like the aluminum or fiberglass ladders we use today. Instead, they are wood, perpendicular to the barn floor, and usually attached to the barn wall.

Wooden beams – Most of the old barns found in our area were constructed with wood. Depending on the barn’s age, the timbers within may have been hand-hewn with an axe or milled at an area sawmill. Many barns were built with local hardwoods like oak and hickory.