Burke Farm

Recognition Award Winner

Location: Kansas
Year of Award: 2000
Original Use: Horses
Current Use: Hay

Burke Farm-Denton, KS after rehabilitation.

Round and polygonal barns are popular landmarks, but sometimes adapting them to new uses can be a challenge.  When Mark Burke bought his 160-acre farm in 1995, he inherited an octagonal barn, 60 feet in diameter.  "It was in poor condition and going down fast," he says.  "Most farmers around here told me to burn it down."  But Mark was intrigued enough with the old barn, which is on the Doniphan County Barn Tour, to try to fix it up.

On the outside, he replaced the asphalt roof, rebuilt the cupola and repaired, scraped and painted the vertical board and batten siding.  Inside, he removed the haymow floor and two supporting posts, and used the lumber to build a truss and additional bracing. He straightened the doorway and enlarged it to 18' x 14', so he could bring in a tractor and other equipment.  Putting the barn to a practical new use means that this Doniphan County landmark will remain on the Barn Tour for many years to come.

According to an article, in the Spring 1999 edition of Kansas History, by University of Kansas Professor James Shortridge, there were once 41 round or polygonal barns in Kansas. Of these, only 24 remain.