Why care about barns? In the year 2000 our country was able to watch the millennium change with satellites and televisions as time swept across the globe. We are in the peak of the technological age. We no longer rely upon the materials of the land to create our homes, or our outbuildings. Most of us don't even have outbuildings. Buildings today are built with materials that farmers 100 years ago could barely imagine.

Just 100 years ago, farmers built their barns by hand using age-old traditions passed down through generations. The barns protected the family by protecting the wealth of the farmstead; the animals, the grain, the seed, the tools of the farm. In an agrarian society, established on the richest soil in the world, it was not inconceivable to imagine that barns would last for a couple hundred years.

We are losing the symbols of that heritage at an alarming rate. Once the landscape was dotted with the stately barns of the prairie state, today most of those barns are being replaced with subdivisions. Even agrarian cultures are encouraged to destroy old barns for more modern, economically viable, and efficient structures. Our barns were the symbol of the American farm. Only a few craftsmen still know the old traditions and the virgin forests that made up the framework of the castles of the prairie no longer exist.

Times change, and society changes, but it is not too late to save some of this heritage before it is gone forever. No greater symbol of American heritage exists than the barn. They were and are the temples of the prairie.

~Nancy Schumm-Burgess