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Liebhauser Twelve-Sided Barn (Round Barn)

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Round Barn
1916–1917. 7804 Scott Rd. (MI 79)

This unusual polygonal barn was built by Ed Liebhauser, a druggist in nearby Nashville who owned the farm. Liebhauser contracted with a local carpenter to have two smaller barns removed from the site and the lumber reused to construct an immense twelve-sided barn in their place. Heavy timbers from these two barns, along with the standard dimensional lumber and metal cladding, were used to erect the structure, which is approximately eighty-five feet in diameter and sixty-five feet in height. Although unusual in size and shape, the barn was in many respects designed as a common northern bank barn, with the basement level exposed to the south providing grade-level access to a barnyard and insulated by earth to the north, which provided direct access to the main floor used as a haymow.

Major advantages of circular barns, as touted by their proponents, were increased storage capacity and more efficient use of space since there were no odd corners. A team of horses with a wagon rig could enter the Liebhauser barn, turn around inside, and exit through the same doorway. Hay could be stacked to nearly ceiling level by lifting it to an iron track circling the interior heights of the building. The main floor haymow easily stored all of the hay from the 412-acre farm, as well as every piece of equipment used on the farm at that time, and the basement level accommodated over two hundred ewes and their lambs. Although not currently used for agricultural purposes, the Liebhauser barn continues to serve as a landmark for the Nashville community, and is symbolic of the importance of traditional and innovative agricultural practices to the community's evolution.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert
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Citation

Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Liebhauser Twelve-Sided Barn (Round Barn)", [Nashville, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-BA3.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 269-269.

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