Barns: German-American Barns

In the 1840s and 1850s, German-Catholic immigrants began establishing settlements in Dubois County, Indiana, and the surrounding area, including the county seat of Jasper and the smaller towns of Huntingburg, Ferdinand, and “the saints”—St. Meinrad, St. Anthony, and St. Mark. In this area of southern Indiana, German-American log buildings closely resembled those of the earlier settlers of British ancestry, from whom Warren believed the new immigrants learned how to build with logs. German-American log buildings, both houses and barns, have one notable difference, however: cantilevered logs that support an overhanging roof. 

German-American log barns consisted of two cribs flanking a central driveway. Animals were stored in one crib and grain in the other. The overhead loft area, used for storing hay, extended over the driveway from crib to crib. The cantilevered porch and, when present, the rear lean-to roof, likewise extended from crib to crib.

“On every [German-American] barn, one log in each side wall of each crib extends forward to support an overhang, or 'porch' roof, that stretches across the front of the barn. There are four side walls, two in each crib, so there are four projecting logs. The average depth of the front extension is six feet.

Most of the barns also have logs extending from the same side walls to support a roof at the rear for a shed-like lean-to. The walls of this shed are of simple frame construction. In some of the barns the same log that extends from the front of the barn also extends at the rear, while in others, one log protrudes at the front while the log below it protrudes at the back. The typical rear extension measures twelve feet in depth. The overall size of the average barn, including both the front and the rear extensions, is fifty-by-forty-two feet. The actual log cribs and driveway at floor level cover an area fifty-by-twenty-four feet."

“Early Log-Crib Barn Survivals” in Barns of the Midwest, 34.