Round barns date to the late 18th and early 19th century. George Washington owned a sixteen-sided threshing barn that he designed himself in 1793. Built at his Dogue Run Farm in Fairfax County, Virginia it is regarded as the first American round barn. Early round barns were particularly associated with the Shaker community, one was constructed in 1826 at just such a community in Hancock, Massachusetts. Outside of Hancock and Mount Vernon, a few scattered round barns appeared on the American landscape before the Civil War.
Despite considerable publicity of the 1826 round barn in Massachusetts, the design was not popularized until the 1880s. During this time period agricultural colleges began to push the design as they taught progressive farming methods, based on the principles of industrial efficiency. It was from 1880?1920 that round barns began were the most popular in the United States, especially in the Midwest.
1. Round barns would be more generally built if their advantages were known and if the few which have been erected had been rightly constructed
2. The round dairy barn offers greater convenience in storing, handling and distributing the feed.
3. In the circular construction, much greater strength is secured with less lumber.
4. The material for rectangular barns costs from 34 to 58 percent more than for round barns of the same area and capacity
5. Round and rectangular barns compared
6. Round and rectangular barns, including silos, compared
7. Detailed account, with illustration showing how the round barn at the university was built
8. Itemized statement of cost of a 60-foot round barn (as of 1910 prices....;)
9. Brief descriptions with illustrations and plans of several round dairy barns in actual use.