The Barn

In 1915, Frank Hanson, a local farmer, built this unique barn for farrowing and auctioning hogs. It has been in the Barelman family for three generations, with Ward Barelman as the current owner.

Round barn construction was the innovative technology of the day, with is proponents claiming building material costs to be much less than that of a rectangular building. Some also claimed the design to be “cyclone-proof” after one stood alone, surviving a tornado that leveled every other building on a farm.

The Barelman barn has a cement block foundation, which also serves as shelter for hogs. The main level has wedge-shaped pens surrounding the circumference. In the middle stands a ventilation shaft rising through the ceiling to the metal cupola on the top. Above the front pediment entrance, there is a loft which held grain. The conical-shaped roof boasts several windows for light and ventilation. Circling the inside is a metal ring, which was used as a manure and feed trolley. The siding is vertical tongue and groove wood planks.

Restoration of the barn took place in 2000 and included 120 students, teachers, and other community members. It served as the spark to start the Wakefield Heritage Organization.

For more information about the preservation of this barn, read this article on the Nebraska Humanities Council website.