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Gilley-Tofsland Octagonal Barn

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c. 1913, John Almond. W. Stebbinsville Rd., just north of the Yahara River and the Stebbinsville WP 51 Dam
  • (Photograph by Den Adler, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

Round or octagonal barns like this one were common in Wisconsin around the turn of the twentieth century. Will and Flora Gilley hired carpenter John Almond to build this barn for their herd of Guernseys. The three-story barn wraps around a concrete-block silo, which is ventilated by a low conical cupola, in which pairs of windows alternate with louvered panels. A framework of 8-inch-square posts and 8 × 2–inch rafters forms the structure, and horizontal lapped siding composes the walls. The barn is set into the side of a hill, exposing the rough-faced concrete-block basement (where the cows lived) on the south and west sides. This arrangement allowed the cattle access to the barnyard and provided plenty of windows for light and ventilation. Above the basement, the main story contained several grain bins, and the Gilleys could drive a wagon directly in through a set of twelve-foot-tall wooden doors on the east side. A haymow opened to the rafters and the octagonal roof.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Gilley-Tofsland Octagonal Barn", [Edgerton, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 421-421.

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