By Matt Reese
I have long enjoyed travelling Ohio and admiring the beautiful historic barns dotting the state’s rural landscape. They are simultaneously symbols of our agricultural heritage, a demonstration of incredible human ingenuity and uniquely nostalgic. Maybe the most notable examples of this are the rare round barns, of which Ohio has several.
I know a trip to the Fairfield County Fair is not complete without a stroll through the round dairy barn. At least as impressive, though much less visited, is a 16-sided, 60-foot-tall barn on the Workley farm in Harrison County, nestled in the Appalachian woodlands. And no Ohio round barn conversation can be complete without referencing the incredible structure on the Manchester farm in Auglaize County.
My friend Robert Kroeger, who I call “Bob the Barn guy,” has been hard at work again documenting round barns to help preserve their historic significance through his painting and story-telling. The Cincinnati native previously published Historic Barns of Ohio with paintings and essays about barns in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. He has a beautiful new book — Round barns of America: 75 icons of history — taking his love for round barns nationwide. The book includes 11 barns from Ohio and other examples from 32 states. Check out Kroeger’s charity auctions of his paintings this year at robertkroeger.com and order his new book by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Kroeger’s round barn paintings featured in the book will be in an online auction in May on biddingowl.com under Hocking County Historical Society. The auction will benefit 10 Ohio historical societies, each of which has seven of the paintings for display.