Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Barns of the Midwest

Edited by Allen G. Noble and Hubert G. H. Wilhelm

Barns of the Midwest brings together a number of authorities in a series of essays on that region's remarkable contributions to the American barn, with particular attention given to twentieth-century developments. As the authors note, 'what better structure than the barn to tell America's story of the variety in its ethnic and regional traditions, environmental characteristics and land uses.'”

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

“(Barns of the Midwest) not only assembles a collection of important essays that enhance the understanding of barn scholarship, but also it is a clarion call to Americans to develop strategies to save this vanishing building.”

Illinois Historical Journal

“While many books on barns have focused on their inherent beauty, Barns of the Midwest chronicles all facets of barn construction, function, heritage, and geographic distribution. Editors Allen G. Noble and Hubert G. H. Wilhelm, both well known in the agricultural history field, have successfully brought together other specialists to compile this scholarly book.... (D)eserves to be read by all serious enthusiasts of agricultural history.”

Indiana Magazine of History

“The scholarship of the essays is uniformly high. All are well documented and illustrated with excellent black and white photographs...the best essays combine architectural information with the context of nineteenth and early twentieth century farming and rural culture.”

Ohioana Quarterly

For many, the barn is the symbol of the Midwestern United States. It represents tangible wealth, solid citizenship, industry, stability, and other agrarian values associated with its conservative, Anglo-Saxon settlers.

Editors Noble and Wilhelm set out to examine these stereotypes. European settlement of the Midwest, though primarily English and German, was never homogenous and the character of the Midwest barn reflects this. As this collection shows, these barns draw on a rich blend of materials, values, and technologies from the Old World and the New, while at the same time leaving their identifiable mark on the American landscape.

Allen G. Noble, is a geographer and distinguished emeritus professor at the University of Akron.   More info →

Hubert G. H. Wilhelm was a distinguished professor of geography at Ohio University. He died in 2015.   More info →

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