Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings: A Practical Guide [NOOK Book]


Accompanied by more than 250 illustrations, Halsted's environmentally sensitive manual was written with the farmer in mind--and during a time when a laborer earned a mere dollar a day. His barn-building theories extend to dog- and bird-houses, and are based upon qualities we still hold dear: light and air, space, cost, and beauty, as well as permanence, convenience, and workability.
This facsimile edition of the 1881 book of plans and instructions will engage the reader with ...
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Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings: A Practical Guide

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Accompanied by more than 250 illustrations, Halsted's environmentally sensitive manual was written with the farmer in mind--and during a time when a laborer earned a mere dollar a day. His barn-building theories extend to dog- and bird-houses, and are based upon qualities we still hold dear: light and air, space, cost, and beauty, as well as permanence, convenience, and workability.
This facsimile edition of the 1881 book of plans and instructions will engage the reader with its anecdotal style. Nearly 100 structures span the gamut of farm buildings: from monumental barns--four stories high and covering nearly an acre, to lowly hen coops and root cellars. The particulars of their construction, recounted in simple and practical terms, tell a timeless tale of life lived amid the changing seasons and the natural world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486152561
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 12/21/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 420,259
  • File size: 25 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

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A Practical Guide


Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15256-1



With the increase of wealth, and we may add of good sense and enlarged ideas, among the farmers of the country, there is a gradual but very decided improvement in farm architecture. The old custom was to build small barns, to add others on three sides of a yard, perhaps of several yards, and to construct sheds, pigpens, corn houses, and such minor structures as might seem desirable. In the course of a few years the group of roofs, big and little, span and lean-to, in the rear of a large farmer's dwelling, would present the appearance of a small crowded village. Compared with a well arranged barn, a group of small buildings is inconvenient and extremely expensive to keep in good repair.


Among the many large and expensive barns now scattered through the country, there are few more thoroughly satisfactory to old school farmers with broad ideas, than one built by the late Mr. David Lyman, of Middlefield, Connecticut. Mr. Lyman required a very large barn for his farm purposes simply, and built one, a front view and interior plans of which are here given. The elevation of the building, figure 1, shows entrances to its two main floors; there is a basement below.

THE UPPER, OR HAY FLOOR.—This floor is shown in figure 2; all the hay, grain, and straw are stored here. It maintains the same level throughout. Two thrashing floors cross the building, and are entered from the high ground on the west by a very easy ascent. The main entrance crosses over an engine room, seen in figures 1 and 3. This room is built of stone, arched above, and is roomy as well as secure.

By means of a hay fork and a number of travellers, the hay is taken from the loads and dropped in any part of the immense bays. The forks are worked by one horse, attached to a hoisting machine, of which there are two, placed near the great doors during the haying season, as indicated by the letters marked H, P, in the plan, figure 2.

On the main floor are bins for grain and ground feed, provided with shutes connecting them with the feeding floor. There are hay scales, also—a fixture in one of the floors—which afford the means of being very accurate in many things, in regard to which guess work is ordinarily the rule. The great ventilators, so conspicuous in figure 1, pass from the feeding floor to the roof, and are furnished with doors at different elevations, quite to the top of the mow, thus forming convenient shutes to throw down hay or straw. A long flight of stairs passes from the principal barn floor to the cupola, from which a magnificent view is obtained of the whole farm and surrounding country.

THE FEEDING FLOOR is entered by several doors. Two double doors open upon a spacious floor in the rear of the horse stalls, which extends through the middle of the main barn. The northwest corner, figure 3, is occupied by a large harness and tool room, with a chimney and a stove. On the right of the front entrance is the carriage room, which is closed by a sliding door, or partition. There is room on the open part of this floor, behind the horse stalls, and adjacent, to drive in three wagons at a time, and let the horses stand hitched. Between the ox stalls in the south wing, is a ten-foot passage way through which carts with roots or green feed may be driven, the stairs in the middle being hinged at the ceiling and fastened up. The stalls are seven feet wide, and arranged to tie up two cattle in each. A gutter to conduct off the urine runs along behind each range of stalls, and there are well secured traps, one in about every fifteen feet, through which the manure is dropped to the cellar. The letter C, wherever it occurs in figure 3, indicates a trap door of a manure drop. The letter D is placed wherever there are doors which, in the engraving, might be taken for windows.

The cattle pass to the yards through doors in the ends of the wings. The south yard is nearly upon a level with the floor, sloping gradually away toward the south and east; but the large barn yard is on the level of the manure cellar, and an inclined way gives access to the yard on the east side, from the cow stalls. Three roomy, loose boxes are provided, one for horses, and two as lying-in stables for cows. Near the points marked W, and F, stands the hydrant for flowing water, and the trough for mixing feed, and here, too, the shutes for grain and cut feed discharge from the floor above.

VENTILATION AND LIGHT.—Four immense ventilating trunks, four feet square, rise from the feeding floor straight to the roof. These are capped by good ventilators of the largest size, and cause a constant change of air in the stables, the draft being ordinarily sufficient to be felt like a fresh breeze, by holding the hand anywhere within a few feet of the openings. This keeps the air in the whole establishment sweeter and purer than in most dwellings. The windows on all sides of this floor are of large size, with double sashes, hung with weights.

THE BARN CELLAR.—This is arranged for hogs, roots, and manure. The fixed partitions in the cellar are only two, one enclosing the root cellar, and the other, outside of that, shutting off a wide, cemented passage way, extending from the door at the northeast corner, around two sides of the root cellar, as shown in figure 4. The rest of the cellar is occupied by the manure, and hogs are enclosed in different parts of the cellar, according to convenience.

SIZE OF BARN.—The building covers more than one-fifth of an acre of land, and thus there is over three-fifths of an acre under a roof. The main barn is fifty-five by eighty feet. The wings are each fifty-six feet long, the south one being thirty-five wide, and the east wing thirty-one and one-half feet wide. The four leading points sought for and obtained were: first, economy of room under a given roof, second, plenty of light, third, plenty of air, and ventilation which would draw off all deleterious gas as fast as generated, and fourth, convenience to save labor. Saving of manure, and many other things were of course included. The windows are all hung with pulleys, and are lowered in warm days in winter, and closed in cold days. This is important.


The perspective view and plans here given, represent the fine barn on "Houghton Farm," the property of Mr. Lawson Valentine, Mountainville, Orange County, N. Y. It is located on a hillside, and is supplied with water brought from springs. The barn is handsomely proportioned, and with its slated roof and red-painted walls, with black trimmings, presents a fine appearance. It is admirably adapted for keeping a large number of horses, and a good model for any well-to-do farmer desiring a handsome and useful barn. In its general plan it may be followed on a smaller scale by any one having horses and cattle for which to provide stabling and shelter.

The building is one hundred and ten feet long, by fifty-five feet wide, with twenty-foot posts, and is forty feet from the main floor to the ridge. It rests on a stone basement ten feet high in the clear; this basement provides comfortable and convenient stabling for the owner's fine stud. The division is shown at figure 6; a, a, are the horse stalls; b, the harness room, four by twenty-five feet; c, stairs; d, box stalls, ten and one-half by fourteen and one-half feet; e, e, cow stalls, with permanent partitions and adjustable mangers; g, q, gates for separating the cattle department from the horses. Figure 7, shows a plan of the main floor; a, is the tool room; b, contains a horse power for driving a feed cutter, thrasher, etc.; c, is used as a stowage room for cut feed, etc.; d, is the grain room, provided with bins and convenient shutes; e, is a room for a keeper; which also contains closets for the nicer harnesses. The letters V, V, V, V, indicate the ventilators; S, shows the large platform scales. The floor of the basement is made of brick, laid on edge in mortar, underlaid by concrete. Figure 8 represents one of the horse stalls. The upper portion consists of iron rods ex-tending from the top of the sides to a railing two feet above. The front is provided with screen doors.

The stall is nine by four and one-half feet, and the manger is one foot nine inches from front to back. An iron feed trough for grain occupies one end of the manger, indicated by the dotted line at G. The remainder is taken up by the hay box, H, the bottom of which is shown by the dotted line. A door in front allows for cleaning out the feed box, and opens to a closet. The box stalls are also provided with the iron rods for a top finish, so that a person can easily see into them without entering. The interior exposed wood work is varnished, making a neat and substantial finish. Opening into the basement, and extending nearly to the roof are four ventilating flues, each four feet square. Their outer edge is on a line with the drive way, and the inner side has openings fitted with doors opening inwards, at various hights, which make the flues serve as convenient hay shutes to the floor below.


The accompanying engravings are of a barn built by Mr. Kyle, Greene Co., Ohio. The basement is sixty feet long, twenty-four feet wide, and seven feet high in the clear; the walls contain seventy perches of stone work. The floor above is supported by two rows of pillars, figure 9. Those in the outside row are two by six feet, the inside ones being two feet square. The barn is forty-eight feet wide. The floor of the cow stable, which is directly over the basement, rests upon joists that are laid upon cross sills, and reach from the ends of the front pillars to the rear ones. The joists rest upon the cross sills as far as the latter reach, and then upon the pillars. The cross sills are ten inches square. There is thus a drop of ten inches in the floor upon which the cows stand and immediately behind them. This drop, h,figure 10, is four feet wide, and forms a passage in which the manure collects, and from which it may be pushed through the side of the drop to the basement below. The liquids from the cows drain through this open space upon the manure in the basement. The floor upon which the cows stand, seen at g, is six feet wide. A passage way, seen above the arches in figure 9, leads from the stable door to the barn yard. There are fourteen stalls for cows, g,figure 10, each of which is four feet wide. The partitions between the stalls are formed in the manner shown in figure 13. In each stall is a manger and a feed box. The cows are tied by means of a ropes around their necks. There is a passage, f,figure 10, between the cow stable and the horse stable, c. In the latter there are seven single horse stalls, and two closed loose boxes. Each single stall is five feet wide. When the horse stable is cleaned, a wagon is driven into the shed behind it, b; the manure is thrown into the wagon, and at once hauled wherever it may be wanted. The floor of the horse stable is on the ground. The partitions between the horse stalls are made as shown in figure 12. The shed, b, figure 10, is for storing tools and wagons, or housing sheep, and has a door, a, at each end. One door opens into a yard, through which the road, seen in the engraving, runs. Here the straw and cornstalks are stacked, and a great portion of them are here fed to the stock to make manure. No water from the barn runs into this yard, or on to the manure. The stables are eight feet high, and the barn reaches eighteen feet above the stables. The plan of the barn floor is shown at figure 11; at a is the main floor; at b, b, are the entrance doors, to which a sloping drive way, abutting against the wagon shed, leads. The rear doors c, c, are hung upon rollers, and in figure 9 are seen partly open. At d is the trap for hay, leading to the feed passage below, and e, e, are traps for straw used for bedding, leading into the stables. The granaries are seen at f, f, and there are spouts from these leading into the wagon shed, so that sacks upon the wagon can be filled from the spouts. The passage to the granaries is at g; it is eight feet wide, and a work bench with tools is kept here. The staircase leading down to the feed passage is seen at h. The trap doors are double and on hinges. The floor is also double, so that no dust can fall through to the floor below, nor any disagreeable vapors arise therefrom. This story is eighteen feet clear, there being a truss roof which is self-supporting. The roof is shingled with pine shingles, and the whole of the barn is covered with pine weather boarding, and painted. The total cost of this barn was one thousand two hundred dollars, in addition to the owner's work, and the value of the frame timber, which was cut upon the farm.


The barn shown in the following engraving, figure 14, was built by Mr. Wm. B. Collier, of St. Louis, on his Country Estate in Audrain Co., Mo., and has been regarded by well-informed people as one of the best barns in the State. The building is eighty-four feet square, and nearly fifty feet in extreme hight, not including the cellar; it fronts the south. There are eighty-four stalls, arranged as in the ground plan (figure 15), there being two rows of horse stalls on one side, and three rows of cattle stalls on the other. The proportions of the interior are as liberal of space as those of the barn itself. The central drive way or barn floor is sixteen feet wide. The carriage and wagon rooms on each side the floor are both twenty feet square. Large loose boxes are for the accommodation of stallions. The various passage ways between the rows of stalls, and at the rear of them, are four feet wide, while the horse stalls are nearly six feet, and the stalls for two cows eight feet in width. The two spaces enclosed between dotted lines on the barn floor indicate the position of the hoist ways under the skylights for hay and grain. The spaces at either end outside these hoisting spaces are floored over above the great doors, and are finished off as granaries for keeping the supply of oats, meal, etc., required for the stock. On each side of the barn is a rain water cistern, twelve feet nine inches in diameter, and twenty-five feet deep; these are connected by a pipe, passing underground across the front of the barn. There are seven windows on each side, and six besides the five sliding doors, in each gable. These, with the three great ventilators, afford unusual provision for pure air. The cattle are fed from the floor above. The passage between the rows of horse stalls is for feeding. The building stands upon fifty-four stone pillars, and has a tight board floor, any part of which may be easily renewed, as occasion may require. With a large corn house, thirty-five feet square, not seen in the engraving, this barn cost nine thousand dollars.


The following plan (figure 16) is of a simple and inexpensive barn. The size is forty by fifty-five feet; it has a large shed attached for cattle. The fifteenfoot barn floor, see figure 17, is of good medium width; if wider the room would not be wasted. On the left are the horse stalls, five feet wide. There might be five stalls four feet wide, but for a large horse the width ought to be about five feet. The whole space given to horses is fifteen by twenty feet. Beyond, the floor widens seven feet, and the rest of the left side is devoted to cattle stalls, twenty-five feet, giving room for six cow and ox stalls, and two passage ways, one of which may be closed and made a stall for a cow. The seven-foot space affords abundant room for hay cutter, feed box, and accompaniments, located close to both cattle and horses; and if cattle are fed in the shed on feed prepared in the feed box, a passage at the rear conducts conveniently to their mangers. A three foot square trunk ascends, from over the seven by twenty-five-foot space in front of the cow stalls, to the roof, securing abundant ventilation, and affording a shute, through which hay, or straw, may be readily dropped from the mow; or corn cobs, and other matters, from the granary.


Excerpted from BARNS, SHEDS AND OUR BUILDINGS by BYRON D. HALSTED. Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Table of Figures,

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