Great American Barns: Calloway Barn

January 6, 2017 11:38 AM

When the Calloway round barn in Miami Co., Ind. was being built in 1914, Henry Ford developed the concept of an assembly line for his Model-T cars, Babe Ruth played his first professional baseball game, and Woodrow Wilson was president.

Jerry and Phyllis Calloway have lived on the farm for 50 years, but the property has been in the family since the Great Depression.

“We love what we do,” said Phyllis. “Farming is a way of life for us. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life.”

The barn is the focal point of the farmstead. Construction began in 1914 and wrapped up the following year. Eight laborers built the round barn—80 feet in diameter ad 54 feet from the basement floor to the peak.

A cupola sat at the peak, but it threw off the balance roof and it partially collapsed. Now, support posts have been installed in the barn to keep the roof stationary.

Decades later, the outside of the roof is equally impressive, showcasing the litany of livestock the Calloway’s five children showed at the 4-H fair.

“I thought we should put a goose, a gander and five goslings,” said Phyllis. “Everyone laughed about that. We decided to put each aspect of livestock we had.”

The roof shows cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens.

Round-style barns started growing popularity in the early 1900s and were thought to be more efficient for feeding and milking dairy herds, however they were also more expensive to build.

By the end of the 1930s, they fell out of favor.

Upkeep seems to be a relative term for the aging structure, but under the Calloway’s care, the future is promising.

“It’s a family heritage,” said Phyllis. “It’s something we can pass down to our children and hopefully their children if they maintain it.”

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