Nestled in gently rolling terrain, this is perhaps the state’s best example of a polygonal barn. The twenty-sided structure rests on a raised basement of fieldstone, where the cattle and horses were stanchioned in a circle around a central silo. Above that level is a clapboard-sheathed hayloft, entered via an earthen ramp, which allowed the farmer to drive his wagon directly into the building. Inside the hayloft is a large open space, broken only by the center silo. A twenty-sided self-supporting roof shelters the entire structure, and a ten-sided cupola provides ventilation and a measure of illumination.
From about 1890 until 1914, Wisconsin’s farmers made the transition from wheat farming to dairying, and the countryside witnessed a flurry of interest in polygonal and round barns. The state’s first centric barns were usually octagonal, since they proved easier to construct than true round barns. Round barns became popular in the first decade of the twentieth century, but the 1910s saw a resurgence in the construction of polygonal barns. It was during this last phase that Albert Petrick commissioned a twenty-sided barn (the Nashold family bought the farm in 1916). Some of the barn’s other features were fairly innovative, including the stationary engine for operating barn machinery, the hay-carrier track, and the miniature feed mill and grain elevator. The location of the milk house beneath the earthen ramp was particularly ingenious, for it provided insulation and thereby kept the milk cool even in the heat of summer.