Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Rare barn

This is the sixteen-sided barn that Lester Teeple built circa 1885. It stands in the northwest corner of Elgin, Illinois, just a couple of hundred yards off Interstate 90. Just out of the photo to the right is a large industrial park. The reflecting pond belongs to Matsushita Corporation, the owner of the barn property since 1989. It took a little doing to position myself to hide power lines and cell phone towers behind the trees. I wound up lying on my side on the ground, holding the camera sideways.

Back in the day, Elgin was a dairy center for much of the midwestern U.S. A number of enterprising dairy farmers built round barns, reasoning that since the business end of a dairy cow is wider than its head, wedge-shaped stalls set in a circle would house more cows than a rectangular barn.

The years have run their course. Elgin is no longer a dairy center. The Teeple barn is the only barn of its kind still standing in Illinois, and one of less than one hundred left in the entire U.S.
A local historical foundation struggles to raise funds to restore and maintain the barn.

Originally shot in color, but converted to black and white with sepia tones added and selective dodging with vignetting and blur to add to the period look of the photo.

Update, May 26, 2007: High winds toppled the barn, making it unlikely that it will be restored. Details here.

Click on photo to enlarge. Photograph © 2006 James Jordan.


Jack said...

Should read: "lying on my side"

James said...

Jack, thanks for the proofread. The change has been made.

Ghone said...

Great resultant image. Really good.

Cedar said...

That photo made me smile James. My dad used to tell a slightly off-color joke whenever we would drive past it when I was a child. (He probably still tells the same joke now). I'd post the joke, but can only remember the punchline. I'll have to call him to find out the whole thing.

Kim said...

Beautiful shot! I love old barns, and am sad to read that this one was toppled by a storm.

John Maslowski said...

Stunning picture, really like the details in the old barn and great tones.