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Highlights Archives

'Barns of Wisconsin' Celebrates Rural Heritage


A Wisconsin barn with a stone foundation and decorative weather vane
WHI 26135

In this new edition of his classic book, "Barns of Wisconsin," award-winning author Jerry Apps shares a unique perspective on the great barns of rural Wisconsin. Digging deep as both an enthusiast and as a farmer, Apps reaps a story of change: from the earliest pioneer structures to the low steel buildings of modern dairy farms, barns have adapted to meet the needs of each generation. They've housed wheat, tobacco, potatoes and dairy cows, and they display the optimism, ingenuity, hard work and practicality of the people who tend land and livestock.

More Than 100 Stunning Photographs

The cover of "Barns of Wisconsin"

Featuring more than 100 stunning full-color photographs by Steve Apps, plus dozens of historic images like one seen above, "Barns of Wisconsin" illuminates a vanishing way of life. The book explores myriad barn designs — from rectangular to round, from gable roof to gambrel, from fieldstone to wood — always with an eye to the history and craftsmanship of the Norwegians, Germans, Swiss, Finns and others who built and used them. "Barns of Wisconsin" captures both the iconic and the unique, including historic and noteworthy barns, and discusses the disappearance of barns from our landscape and preservation efforts to save these important symbols of American agriculture.

'A Gift to Every Citizen of the State'

"Jerry Apps' classic 'Barns of Wisconsin' is a gift to every citizen of the state and the agricultural Midwest. Beyond nostalgia for our rural heritage, beyond the fascinating and ingenious examples of folk architecture, the barns that Jerry has immortalized in these pages stand as a lasting testament to our unique struggles and triumphs as agrarians from distant lands who came together in this welcoming wilderness and made a life, a culture, and a society. Europe may have its cathedrals, but Wisconsin's story is warmly told through its glorious barns."

— from the Foreword to "Barns of Wisconsin" by Richard (Dick) Cates Jr.

:: Posted August 12, 2010

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