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Is My Barn Historic?

The National Register and State Register have no special categories of eligibility for barns. To be eligible for listing, a barn must meet the same criteria as those for Victorian houses, downtown commercial buildings, and county courthouses, to name just a few building types. Meeting these criteria is somewhat difficult for barns because they are usually simple utilitarian structures and share very similar features to hundreds of other barns. Your barn may be eligible if it falls into at least one of the following categories.

The Nashold 20-sided barn was listed in the Register because it is a good example of a distinctive barn type.
The Nashold 20-sided barn was listed in the
Register because it is a good example of a
distinctive barn type.

1. A good example of a distinctive type of barn. Listed examples in Wisconsin include many round and polygonal barns.

2. Part of an intact historic farmstead. Many farmsteads have been determined to be historic because they retain the majority of their historic outbuildings in addition to the house and barn, such as machine sheds, pig barns, threshing barns, privies, milk houses, and chicken coops.

The George Halada farmstead was listed in the Register as an intact historic farmstead.
The George Halada farmstead was listed in
the Register as an intact historic farmstead.
The house and most of the agricultural
building are intact, and there are few
alterations.

The barns and outbuildings are part of the property's historic character and can be rehabilitated using tax credits.
The barns and outbuildings are part of the
property's historic character and can be
rehabilitated using tax credits.

3. Part of a farmstead associated with a prominent person in the community, county or state. That is, the owner was a leader, an innovator, or a political figure whose achievements stood out in the community.

4. Part of a farm associated with important discoveries, innovations, or experiments in agricultural practice. Farmsteads containing intact examples of early contour-plowed fields, irrigation systems, and nurseries have been listed in the National Register and State Register.

5. Part of a farmstead that has an distinctive ethnic association. In other words, do the buildings or land use still reflect ethnic practices and traditions? For example, Bohemian, Belgian and Swiss farmsteads have been listed because of their ethnic character.

Settler Emmanuel Markle began dairy farming, before switching to seed production and produce.
Settler Emmanuel Markle began dairy
farming, before switching to seed
production and produce

6. Constructed in a rare, distinct, or unusual way. Welsh stone barns, house barns, and German fachwerk barns have been listed in the National Register and State Register for their unusual construction techniques.

If you believe your barn or farmstead may have these qualities, submit a National Register Questionnaire as the first step in determining its eligibility.


 

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