Round Barn Capital of the World

Indiana had more round barns than any other state. At one time Indiana had
about 225 round barns. Now there are fewer than 100 left in the state.

Fulton County had more round barns than any other county in Indiana.
Originally blessed with 17 round barns, Fulton County had 15 when we were
told that this was more than any other county. The Covered Bridge Society
surveyed barns along with bridges and told us this. So in 1971 Doris Hood
and Bill Myers of Rochester founded the Fulton County Round Barn Festival.

For a long time, Fulton County residents thought we had more round barns
than any other county in the world. But when Shirley Willard, president of the
Fulton County Historical Society, established the National Round Barn
Center of Information in 1991, she began collecting all the references to
round barns that she could find. Most surveys include many-sided barns with
the round barns. A list of all the round barns in the United States compiled
by members of the Covered Bridge Society and typed by Katherine Kirkham
in 1970s lists 444 round and polygonal barns in the U. S. and 19 in Canada.
These barns were still in existence but later researchers tried to find all
round and polygonal barns that had ever existed. These included doctoral
theses by agricultural and architectural students.

Nebraska's Round Barns, 1970, Roger Welsch
Round and Five or More Equal Sided Barns of Wisconsin, 1982, Larry Jost
Without Right Angles - The Round Barns of Iowa, 1983, Lowell J. Soike
Directory of Round Barns in Minnesota, 1986, Roy Meyer
Round Barns of Illinois, 1990, Donald Burnell
A Round Indiana - Round Barns in the Hoosier State, 1993, John T. Hanou
Round Barns of Quebec, Canada, 1996, (a list), Gerald Arbour
A Guide to Pennsylvania's Round Barns, 1997, Wayne Fox
Ohio's Polygonal and Round Barns, 1997, Brian McKee

Michigan Barn Preservation Network, president Jack Worthington, is
compiling a list of the round barns of Michigan and hopes to publish a book.

Larry Jost did his survey in Wisconsin and discovered that Vernon County
had 20 round barns in 1982, eleven years after the Round Barn Festival
began. But Fulton County did not hear about this until 1992. At that time
Shirley Willard wrote to Vernon County Historical Society and told them that
they had more round barns than any other county in the world. They had not
known this fact, and so graciously agreed that Fulton County, Indiana,
should continue with the title of Round Barn Capital of the World because of
our enthusiasm and years of preservation work and the festival. Besides, the
largest number does not always make a place the capital or Chicago would
be the capital of Illinois. Even though we now have only 8 round barns left,
Fulton County still remains the Round Barn Capital of the World.

Although no longer being built, the round and polygonal barns are of special
interest and beauty. Many groups are working to preserve as many barns,
both square and round, as possible. The National Trust for Historic
Preservation and Successful Farming magazine established the BARN
AGAIN! program. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana conducts
regional workshops to help spread the word that old barns can have a new
and useful life, both on the farm and off. Old round barns make wonderful
buildings for other purposes: theaters, restaurants, museums, club houses,
antique shops, the list is limited only by your imagination.
Let's save our barns!

For listings of round barns & covered bridges :
Round Barn Capital of the World?
Fulton County Historical Society
Located in North Central Indiana
Round Barn Museum  
Built in 1924. Moved and
restored in 1990-91. Farm
machinery and antique tool
displays include buggy,
covered wagon, 1912 Lincoln
truck, horse-drawn reaper,
sheller, milk cans, horse and
cow stalls, etc. Open
Mon.-Sat. 9 am - 5 p.m. May -
September. Closed holidays.