What is an Abandoned Barn Versus Inactive?

I looked at the photos of barns in this post. To me, most of them are inactive, not actually abandoned. They are still maintained, enough to not be falling down, don’t look salvaged for barn boards, etc. So, they didn’t really seem abandoned or derelict. Probably someone else would consider any barn not actively used to be abandoned. I guess it is all perspective. Are you someone using a barn or someone photographing it, looking at it for history, art, or industry/ agriculture or architecture?

I have not (so far) found a link to the photographer, John H. Busch or his fellow explorer, Mary Lynn Busch. There are good points in the post about exploring, history and photographing old places in Ontario. I’ve copied and pasted parts of the post, not in order so I can keep topics, like photographing the barns together.

Tips for Photographing Abandoned Barns

It’s interesting how you can photograph the same subject several times in one day and capture a different result each time, depending on the location of the sun, cloud cover, and location of the point of view. I learned through experience that my best colour photos are taken on cloudy days, but it is hard to exclude sunny-day shadows for good contrast.

I have shot and compiled a selection of these abandoned barns. For various reasons, it’s sometimes difficult to get the proper perspective while photographing these structures. Some are set far back from the road; there is often the presence of trees and foliage; and sometimes the time of day isn’t ideal. I believe some of my best photos of these barns were taken during the winter months, due to the absence of foliage, but ironically some of the best colours were during the summer months. Most of the barns are plain and unpainted, but a few are painted “barn red” while the odd one is white or green.

The Beginning of the End

The barns with missing boards or ones that have had part of their metal roofs blown off are the ones I refer to as doomed. Once this process begins, the barn will collapse relatively quickly. A year or two of rain on the dry hardwood beams, coupled with an entry for the wind to blow through, often speeds up the process. Gravity always seems to win in the end.

Another factor that contributes to the disappearance of these old barns is economics, including property taxes. Once the landowner realizes that the barn, which is often completely empty, is costing extra money in tax assessment, an excavator is brought in and the barn is dismantled quickly, often leaving the original farmhouse as the only building on the property.

To this day, terms such as “top plate, girt, corner post, brace, bent, mortise and tenon” still come to mind whenever I see different barns.

Source: Abandoned Barns of Southwestern Ontario | Our Canada

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