Barns: Single-pen Barn

The simplest and earliest type of log barn in southern Indiana consisted of a single room, or crib. Logs were hewn by squaring off two sides and interlocked at the corners through the use of square, half-dovetail, V, or other type of notching. The single crib is considered the basic unit from which other barn types evolved. Many barn builders and/or users expanded their barn’s capacity by building additional cribs, most typically with a passageway in between.

"The most common log barn consist of a single crib of logs, often surrounded by sheds of frame construction. Fifty-nine barns of this type have been located in southern Indiana. The average length of the log crib is twenty-one feet, six inches, the smallest being sixteen feet long and the largest forty-eight. The average width is eighteen feet, six inches, with the smallest thirteen feet and the largest thirty feet. Because most barns have frame sheds on all four sides their overall dimensions are considerably larger.

The construction of these log cribs is relatively simple when compared to a house, for they almost always have a dirt floor and a few cribings cut into the logs. The log portion of the walls of a barn is usually about twenty-one feet high, about six inches higher than the walls of a typical one-and-a half story log house. Animals probably were stabled in the frame sheds, while the central log portion of the barn was used for the storage of grain and hay. The interstices between the logs normally were not filled with chinking, but were left to facilitate the circulation of air."

“Early Log-Crib Barn Survivals,” in Barns of the Midwest, 29.