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John Phillips's Octagonal Barn (Alonzo W. Butt Farm)

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Alonzo W. Butt Farm
1879, Alonzo W. Butt. 11441 Middle Rd.

Built by Alonzo W. Butt (1827–1914), this octagonal bank barn rests on level ground, except for the bank at the south, and is surrounded by vineyards and a view of Lake Erie on the north. In 1875, Elliot Stewart, a professor at Cornell University's Agricultural College, published plans of his octagonal barn in Erie County, New York, which inspired barns of similar design in the region. Barns of this shape were alleged to repel the wind and make feeding and caring for livestock more efficient. The red brick barn has paired porthole windows lighting the upper story along the elevations without entrances. Large barn doors with segmental-arched openings are at the lower level on three sides; the south side has an upper-story entrance. The stone and brick lower story is more than one foot in thickness (the brick sections are three bricks deep) and lit with full-size double-sash windows. On the interior, the roof's lightweight plank joinery defines the loft forty-six feet at the apex without a central support. The roof was originally crowned by a cupola that was destroyed by a storm in the 1950s. Today, the barn is used for storage. An 1840s brick Italianate house west of the barn was built by contractor John Silliman for the Butt family, who grew prosperous in the oil business and who established a vineyard here. The Phillips family bought the property in 1912.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "John Phillips's Octagonal Barn (Alonzo W. Butt Farm)", [North East, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 499-501.

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