A Brief History of Pole Barns in America

Barns are accent marks for much of America’s rural landscape. Whether located in wide open spaces or just off the road, a trip into the country can reveal many beautiful, secluded structures that have stood for years.

One of the most popular barn-building techniques is a pole framing (or post-frame construction), which is formed with minimal parts and simple, labor-intensive techniques. Pole barns in the United States have a bit of interesting history.

Let’s explore:

Economic and Agricultural Hardship
The 1930s were an incredibly scary time for Americans. After a decade of economic prosperity, the stock market crash of 1929 collectively caused Americans to lose millions of dollars. Banks couldn’t meet withdrawal requests due to the loss of cash influx. Unemployment and consumer spending fell to an all-time low. Concurrently, a massive drought spanned many years in the middle of the decade. Lacking sufficient knowledge of proper farming techniques in the 1920s, farmers incorrectly utilized new technology and over-farmed, thus creating a massive amount of unanchored soil, which turned to dust and carried across the country. Families left their farms as crops failed, opening the door for large corporate farms and demand for cheap, effective construction.

Pole Barn Techniques
The world was changing quickly, and it was hard for builders to keep up. Post frame structures and pole barns were born out of this need to adapt. Traditional Pole building designs required the burial of utility poles, or large wooden columns, into the ground to support additional, non-load bearing posts.

As costs grew and supply waned, thicker posts were used as a substitute utility poles, and pole barns popped up across the country as a suitable and inexpensive building with many functions: housing animals, storing crops, impromptu office, cover for rain – you name it; pole barns can do it.

Today’s Structure
Pole barn construction has carried on. Nowadays, technology has advanced to where the materials have improved, but the technique has remained unchanged. Pole barns have maintained their identity as an affordable option compared to buildings with foundations. A pole barn is excellent for commercial, residential or agricultural purposes, and is perfect for any backyard.

Milmar Post Buildings & Construction blends Amish craftsmanship and professional design to deliver homeowners beautiful home remodeling projects and post-frame structures. Contact us today to request a consultation.