News: York Township (09/08/1955) Round Barn
Contact: Steven Lavey

----Source: Clark County Press (09/08/1955)

Kernz Likes Round Barn But Wouldn't Build One

Feeding is Easy, Says Granton Farmer: "This One Built Just to be Different"

If you had build a barn, would you build a conventional, oblong, basement drive-through or perchance, would you build a round one?

Ask that of a man who owns a round barn, Rudy Kernz, and he'll tell you: "A regular drive through barn."

But - it's not because he has anything against the round barn - except he thinks it would cost more to build.

This round barn of Rudy Kernz' is on the farm he bought form Lloyd Smith a little more than a year ago. It is located 4-1/2 miles miles northwest of Granton, on County Trunk K, and was built somewhere around 1920 by Ernest Grabe, who wanted to be different.

From the standpoint of working, Mr. Kernz finds no fault at all with the barn. In fact, he admits it is easier to feed; that it is easy to clean; and that it's no harder to do the milking in than any other conventional barn.

Feeding? Well that's easy because the cows are stanchioned with their heads toward the center. At the exact center is a 14 x 36 masonry silo, with a walk-away between the cows and the silo. Above, at the silo's edge, are the chutes from the hay mow, so that very little walking and carrying is required during feeding.

Barn cleaning is made easy by the manure bucket which follows its circular track around near the outer wall.

But to the conventional dairy farmer, no doubt the idea of working in a round barn is likely to evoke interesting speculation. Such as: do you ever turn around and meet yourself coming back? Or, I'm confused, which door do I take to get out of here? Or, you'll never get through if you work in circles.

But nevertheless, the barn has its points.

The Kernz barn measures 240 feet in circumference. It is estimated close to 40 feet tall, because the silo is 36 feet, and that rises to the top of the hip roof. Above the silo walls, however, is a cupola which goes on up another four to eight feet.

"The hay mow," says Mr. Kernz, "will really fool one" on the amount of storage space it contains. Mrs. Kernz tells how her husband went to an auction shortly after buying the farm, and bought what he thought was alot of hay. But, when it was put inside the mow, he found there was plenty of room left.

The silo is filled from the hay mow floor, inside the barn. And inside the silo, there is a feature that Mr. Kernz says "works good." It is a weight that returns the hay rope and and maintains enough tension on the rope so that it doesn't "slap" on the return.

"I wondered about it at first" says Mr. Kernz, "but it really works swell."

Mr Kernz wasn't able to tell much about the origin of the round barn, nor the idea behind it. But Mrs. Paul Frischman, a neighbor and a resident of the area for many years, recalled that Grabe "built it that way just to be different."

"I never heard him say anything against it," she remarked; "but I suspect, if he had it to do over he'd build a conventional barn."

The Kernz barn is not the only one in Clark County. There is another one on the Harold Ratsch farm at Heintown, which is about four miles north and east of the Kernz place. A third is said to be somewhere in Taylor County.

But their number is so few as to make them an oddity on the Wisconsin scene. And probably, as time goes on, there will be fewer of them.



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