Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Many thanks to my co-worker and scout - Matt. He travels the roads of northern Illinois and eastern Iowa for the company and serves as my scout. He's a student of history and is always on the lookout for interesting buildings and locations for me to shoot.

This is a very unusual stone barn that he spotted heading down I-39. I must have passed it many times myself but it's a smaller building and for some reason I've missed. Earlier attempts at capturing it failed mainly because the very healthy corn crop obscured it from view.

I suppose that stone barns and outbuildings are not uncommon on the east coast, but here in the midwest it's almost unheard of. In fact in all my travels on the highways and byways of Illinois, I've never encountered another one. Limestone buildings are common in the towns that line the rivers - such as along the Fox River or the Rock River, but this is far from those locations.

An interesting fact is that it stands about 3 miles from the center of Troy Grove, birthplace of Wild Bill Hickock.


karl said...


sugarcreekfarm said...

There is a massive limestone barn and house near here. You would love it!

Here's a pic of the barn:

and the house:

It was for sale a while back, how I would have loved to buy it.

Michael Nickels-Wisdom said...

Matt sounds like an interesting person to talk to (and so do you, btw). Though my wife and I have only been in Spring Grove for 12 years, we consciously decided to orient ourselves away from the "metro area", mostly due to a significant sense of burnout and disgust. So...I've tried to investigate some details of area history and natural history, as source material for my poetry.

Anonymous said...

I have never noticed that barn either! Next time I am that way I will surly keep my eyes peeled.

KatKit13 said...

We do have a lot of stone barns down here in Plainfield. There's one that if you get down this way, holler, and I'll send you the intersection. Just stunning and the tudor house they just moved near it, even more incredible.

It's a beautiful shot. I love barns. I've always been fascinated by them. Plus, they transfer to watercolor so well. :)

Kris said...

I invite you to check out the stone barn in our town which is northwest of Green Bay near Pulaski. It is located on Cty Rd S in the Town of Chase, Oconto Cty, WI.

This stone barn was built in 1903. It is on the State and National Register of Historic Places and is one of the last surviving all-fieldstone barns in the country. It was also nominated to be on America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list for 2009.

The barn measures 100 ft long by 60 feet wide. The walls are made of solid fieldstone and mortar. The stones were picked by hand from local farm fields over a century ago, however their origin was the Canadian Shield. Massive glaciers pushed and tumbled the rock (rounding them as they went) to the Wisconsin region during three known ice ages over the past 70,000 years, carving out much of Wisconsin's landscape, rivers, and lakes. Some of these stones are over 2 billion years old!

Our town purchased the barn in 2007 so we could protect it, and are now in the process of restoring it and making into a public park.

Once restored, the large open area of the barn can be used for public and private events, such as weddings, receptions, reunions, auctions, tractor shows and other farm events, conferences, barn dances, and much more. Antique farm equipment will be displayed up along the edge of the loft for viewing below.

The stable area will be a rustic museum where we will showcase the lifestyles of the early settlers from this area, and also educate people about the geology of Wisconsin.

For more pics and info, please visit our town website: www.townofchase.org

If you click "Email Town" it comes to me.