Old Barn Office at Winter’s End

Barn Office

Old Barn Office at Winter’s End

While driving a back road near my home last week, I stopped to photograph an old farm that had a couple of large weathered barns with conditions beginning to approach collapse. Windows were broken and doors dislodged from hinges. Huge gaps in walls with blistered and peeling paint opened the interiors to the elements. Segments of each roof slumped under their own weight, as well as the last remnants of an overnight snow, and entangled with bare branches of overhanging trees.

The objects inside—soggy cardboard cartons, splintered wooden boxes, decaying hay bales, moldy mattresses, small stacks of lumber or piles of cracked bricks, old truck tires, etc.—were strewn about among other assorted mounds of rubble. Though the buildings had once been impressive and productive, their current state suggested nothing but disrepair and decline.

I have mentioned previously in posts I am fond of shooting photos of old buildings, especially barns, which I find have a great sense of character. Indeed, a wonderful book with photographs of old Indiana barns was one of the Easter gifts Pam bought for me this weekend.

As I walked around the two barns to view the extent of destruction and to get pictures from all angles, I noticed a car arrive on the rutted muddy driveway. When I approached the auto, a woman emerged and asked what I was doing. After I explained I was merely taking photos of the old barns because I found them to be inviting images, she smiled and agreed.

She stated how she grew up on a farm, where her family had horses, and she also loved the architecture of old barns. She felt disheartened to see so many in the region collapsing every year, and she told me she admired my attempts to preserve images of such structures.

She also explained that the absentee owners of the property are friends who live elsewhere in town but spend their winters in Florida. They seem to hold little concern about the degeneration of the buildings; however, they receive income by leasing the vast acreage of surrounding fields for others to farm each summer, and they asked her to oversee the place while they are gone.

During our conversation we both lamented the sight of the pair of barns crumbling in front of us, and we expressed sadness over the loss of so many similar barns in northwest Indiana. Before she left, she encouraged me to stay as long as I like and take many more photographs, perhaps knowing that soon those striking and once-splendid barns would only appear in pictures.

The photo above shows the gutted remains of an office extension on one of those barns. Despite the obvious serious deterioration displayed here, this entrance appeared to be among the least damaged sections of the buildings.


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