Barns: Other Farm Buildings

The pre-industrial farmstead included a variety of auxiliary buildings with specialty functions. Many of these still remained at the time Warren was conducting his fieldwork despite the fact that their original use had long been abandoned. Their presence on the landscape gave Warren the opportunity to consider aspects of folklife such as harvesting, threshing, and food preservation that had been replaced by modern life.


Regardless of the materials used in their construction, smokehouses did not widely differ. They averaged about 14 feet by 11 1/2 feet in size. A door was found in the gable end, above which was a projecting hood that sheltered the door and provided a protected area for hanging meat during the butchering or curing process.


Eight log corncribs were located in the course of fieldwork . . . . According to Warren, they are relatively narrow structures averaging 18 feet long and 7 feet wide. No chinking is used between the logs in order to allow air to circulate freely through the stored corn, and there are usually small doors at each end. One double-log corncrib was seen that had two log cribs under a common roof with a driveway between.


"The smokehouses still standing tend to be used for miscellaneous storage. Originally they were used for smoking [pork] and storing it. Hams and bacon were first cured for a period of time with salt and sugar. Then they were hung from hooks in the rafters and ceiling of the smokehouse and a small fire was built on the floor in an old iron kettle or something similar. The fire was kept small so that it would produce smoke instead of flame. Hickory and sassafras were the most favored woods for the fire. After a week or two of the smoking process, the meat would keep for a long time. It was usually simply left in the smokehouse hanging from the hooks. Other foods were likewise stored in the smokehouse."

Warren Roberts, Log Buildings of Southern Indiana, 1996: 154.