Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bremen Water Tower

Part 1 of a 2 part series on the Historic Bremen Standpipe

The Bremen Water Tower, historically known as “the standpipe” is an unusually well-preserved example of a structure supporting early municipal services, in this case public water. The standpipe has a tall slender brick base 68' tall crafted with Gothic Revival details that supports a tall slender steel tank, 36' tall. The tower was constructed in 1892 and was taken out of service by the community in 1955. Though removed from service, it has become a beloved community icon and was named an American Historic Water Landmark in 1975. It was fully restored between the years 1988 and 1989.

The town of Bremen by the late 1800s was developing with the growing need for a better public water system. The town contracted with an accomplished engineer from Chicago for the design of new water works station and standpipe. George C. Morgan engineered the system and James D. Madden, a Fort Wayne contractor, constructed the facilities. Neither Morgan nor Madden were unfamiliar with public works projects.

George Cadogan Morgan was an accomplished engineer specializing in water hydraulic developments for municipalities. Morgan was a member of a family involved in early American engineering and surveying, particularly related to the railroads; his father was Richard Price Morgan. George C. Morgan was a master mechanic for the Fort Wayne-Chicago Railroad and was responsible for the construction of water tanks along the route. Morgan came to Chicago during the 1860s and worked on the city’s first iron bridge, the 18th Street Bridge, in 1868. He is found in the 1876 Chicago city directory under George C. Morgan, civil engineer. His office was located in the Major Block and his residence was at 389 West Adams Street. Morgan was best known for his development of municipal water works in small towns throughout the Midwest which included steel standpipe construction for the public reservoir of water.

Morgan’s water works throughout the Midwest was extensive. A review of available sources, primarily various issues of Engineering News and the Manual of American water works, show 34 Morgan-designed standpipe water works systems between 1888 and about 1907, including Bremen’s constructed in 1892. These were located primarily in Illinois, but also in Michigan, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In a few locations the standpipe is called “a Morgan’s Tower” or “Morgan Special”; whether officially or informally in the minds of the public Morgan had trademarked his standpipe design. In Indiana Morgan designed standpipes in Shelbyville, Delphi, Fulton, Rockville, Bremen, and Bloomfield. The first references found regarding Morgan’s standpipe design is in 1888 with tower construction in Washington and Hoopeston, Illinois. Morgan designed Bremen’s standpipe to have a 68’ brick base with a 12’ x 36’ tall steel water tank. This general design seemed to be popular and easily adapted for other municipal systems. The most similarly sized standpipes were in Delphi, Indiana (11 ½’ x 36’ tall tank on a brick base, constructed in 1891-92) and Hoopeston, Illinois (10’ x 36’ tall tank and a 68’ brick base, constructed in 1888). Several other standpipes were also constructed on 68’ bases but had 48’ tall tanks; these were found in Lexington, Farmer City, Macomb, Grinnell, Monticello, Galva, Illinois and Indianola, Iowa. A standpipe in Caruthersville, MO, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, has a strong resemblance to Bremen’s including the Gothic arched openings in its brick base and decorative metal railing at the top of the tank; it was constructed in 1902.

Illness forced Morgan’s retirement in 1900 though some of his work is found a few years after this date. His wife passed away in 1900, but he remained at his 389 West Adams Street residence and died in 1913. His nephew, Arthur Marshall Morgan, who had joined his uncle in his practice in 1881, continued the business.

James D Madden was born in 1856 in County Derry, Ireland and came to the United States at seventeen years of age. He apprenticed in Philadelphia with a firm named Hoolihan & Barry for five years until 1878 when he opened his own shop in Philadelphia. Two years later he moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and began his plumber’s trade in that city. An 1889 history described Madden as a prominent plumber and the proprietor of a handsome plumbing establishment at 101 Calhoun Street. The biographical information on Madden found in a Bremen Enquirer article concerning the newly constructed water works varies slightly. It stated that upon arriving in America Madden first engaged in the plumbing and water works business under the firm of Ludlow & Co. in Philadelphia and in 1876 was named Superintendant of the York, PA water works. The article states that he moved to Fort Wayne in 1880 and established his business in 1885. Madden constructed his first water works plant at the Eastern Insane Hospital of Indiana in 1889. He constructed the state plant in Fort Wayne, and plants in North and South Evanston, Illinois. Madden also constructed the water tower in Nappanee in 1893. The tower consisted of a tank 24’ x 20’ tall on a tower 70’ tall, all constructed out of yellow pine. The engineer for that design was Fairbanks, Morse, & Co., of Chicago. Madden and Morgan apparently competed for contracts on the construction of water works at least in one occurrence. A water works development in Hinsdale, Illinois had received bids from GC Morgan of Chicago in the amount of $33,908 and from James Madden of Ft. Wayne in the amount of $36,450.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The First Decade of Wythougan

The Garn House, Wythougan's first project in 1999

When Wythougan celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2009, we created a project resume of the work our organization had completed over those ten years, and of those ongoing things in the community. We’re looking forward to the next decade of Wythougan.

Project resume:
Placed Downtown Plymouth on National Register
Relocated and preserved Katie Garn’s House
Held “Disappearing Landscape” photography contest
Placed Heminger Travel Lodge on the National Register
Placed Shady Rest on National Register
Hosted Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana annual meeting
Hosted the National Park Service Lincoln Highway meeting
Developed our TOP 20 HERITAGE SITES program
Began the Daniel McDonald Award for Preservation
Restored Summit Chapel-School
Created September 11th Memorial at Courthouse
Placed Downtown Argos on National Register
Fixed the Chief’s thumb-the first time it was missing
Placed Jacoby Church on National Register
Facilitated transfer of Tippecanoe River WPA site
Restored Jacoby Church
Placed Summit Chapel-School on National Register
Developed Centennial Ceremony for Chief Menominee statue
Placed the Chief Menominee Site on National Register
Yearly participants in the Yellow River Festival
Jacoby Church summer series programming

We also made significant attempts at saving/restoring the following:
Washington School, Union Twp.
Maxinkuckee School, Union Twp.
Argos downtown commercial block
Matchette House, Bourbon
301 Main St. House, Bourbon
Hoham-O’Keefe House, Plymouth
District No. 2 School, Polk Twp.

What do you think the next decade should look like?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Round Barns in Marshall County

Round Barns in Marshall County
Marshall County is part of a group of four counties where the heaviest presence of round barns are/were located in the state and nation. This group also includes Kosciusko, Miami and Fulton Counties-Fulton County is considered the “round barn capital”. The Ramsay-Fox round barn in West Township is the last surviving true-circular barn in Marshall County. A twelve-sided barn also remains at the Clarence and Nellie Quivey Farm on South Olive Trail, Green Township (pictured above). Compiled from two sources it appears that Marshall County at one time had three twelve-sided barns and six true-circular barns (five true-circular barns are recorded in A Round Indiana , the sixth was gleaned from a 1986 list at the Marshall County Historical Society). The following is a list of the barns from these two sources:

1. John Leland, Sr. Twelve-Sided Barn, Lawson Leland, builder. 1913-1914. Muckshaw Road, Green Twp.
Removed between 1986 and 1992

2. Lawson Lester Leland Twelve-Sided Barn, Lawson Leland, builder. 1912. W. 16th Road, Green Twp.
Collapsed in 2001

3. Clarence & Nellie Quivey Twelve-Sided Barn, Lawson Leland, builder. 1913-1914. S. Olive Trail, Green Twp.
Remains standing and is in good condition. The owners, descendents of Clarence Quivey, are adamant that Quivey constructed this barn, not Leland. It seems highly unlikely unless Leland advised and directed its construction since it matches perfectly his other two barns.

4. Round barn on 12th Road, West Township (from 1986 list at Marshall County Historical Society)
Removed between 1986 and 1992

5. Ramsay-Fox True-Circular Barn, Sarah Ramsay Burch, original owner; George W. Ramsay, builder. Ca. 1910
West Twp. The barn is in good condition.

6. Edward Heyde True-Circular Barn, Philip Lauderman, suspected builder. Ca. 1910. E. 3rd Road, North Twp.
Demolished by owner in 2004. The barn had withstood a tornado prior to the 1960s; a massive log was positioned into place where the roof had partial damage and dipped inward on its northwest side

7. Frank Aker Sr. True-Circular Barn, Philip Lauderman, builder. 1911. Plymouth-Goshen Trail, German Twp.
The barn was dismantled and reconstructed at Amish Acres, Elkhart County, IN in 1992

8. True-circular barn, construction date unknown, German Twp.
Razed, date unknown

9. Bryan Williams True-Circular Barn, Bryan Williams, builder. 1912. Location is unknown
Razed, date unknown. It may be possible that #9 and #4 are the same barn.

Round and polygonal barns were often the inventions of their builders and frequently the farmer/owner was the inventor. Such was the case with several of the Marshall County examples. Lawson Leland is credited with creating the three twelve-sided bank barns in Green Township for family farms between about 1912 and 1914. Leland taught himself carpentry from a book. His barns were constructed around a silo, their foundations were concrete, and their beam structure was created from hewn native trees and pegged in mortise and tenon construction. Barn #2 above was featured in “A Twelve Sided Barn” Farmer’s Guide, May 30, 1914. Philip Lauderman likely borrowed his ideas for the true-circular barns he created from Benton Steele since his barns closely resemble those in Steele’s pattern books. The Bryan Williams round barn also appeared in the Farmer’s Guide on August 23, 1913. Williams wrote about the 50’ diameter barn he constructed in 1912 in the publication.

Little is known about the carpentry experience of the man who constructed the Ramsay-Fox Barn. Evidence from Sarah Burch’s will indicates that she was the owner of the farm at the time of the Ramsay-Fox barn’s construction in about 1911 and that she paid George W. Ramsay, her nephew, to construct the barn. While A Round Indiana states that George W. Ramsay fell into financial despair because of the construction of the barn, and lost the farm due to this , it is not consistent with the Abstract of Title on the property. The financial allocation from Sarah Burch’s will ($900.00) to George W. Ramsay for the construction of the barn at her farm also seems consistent with the expense of round barn construction during this time. George W. Ramsay likely ordered prints and a supply list from one of the popular farm journals of that time and constructed the barn himself. It is also plausible, given the period of time the farmhouse was constructed, that Sarah Burch requested the farmhouse also be created from available mail-order plans.

The Ramsay-Fox Round Barn is a true-circular barn created as a bank barn with an embanked central driveway entrance to the main floor and ground level access to the cattle area in the basement. Central driveways are found in about 45% of Indiana’s round barns. The barn also has horizontal siding, found on only 25% of Hoosier round barns. Ramsay constructed the barn around a central silo which has since been removed to just below the main level floor. The basement walls are concrete and show lines where wood was used to form the concrete; the portion of the silo remaining is also concrete. To equip the barn for livestock, the building has a circular hay track attached to the roof on the main level; a concrete floor sloped and stepped away from the center (lower toward the outside walls) for easy cleaning, and feeding troughs in the lower level. At 60’ in diameter, the barn also was larger than many 40’ and 50’ models being constructed, but was consistent with the diameter of both the Heyde and Aker barns constructed in Marshall County. The barn's roof is a gambrel two pitch roof with a wider than typical cupola. The cupola has a very low-sloped roof that appears nearly flat.

Unfortunately the trend of losing round barns in Indiana is consistent with their losses in Marshall County. The 1986-88 round barn survey shows three true-circular barns and three twelve-sided barns extant. By 1992 those numbers were reduced to two true-circular barns and two twelve-sided barns. At the time of this writing, the Ramsay-Fox Barn stands as the last true-circular barn and the Quivey Barn stands as the last polygonal barn extant in the county. This represents a loss of two-thirds of these structures in the last 25 years.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Round Barns

Part 1 of a series on Round Barns in Marshall County

History of Round Barns
The origin of round barn construction may date to early European models in France or to the round design plans of churches from the early Christian and medieval periods. Wealthy farmers invested in agricultural experiments like the round barn. George Washington created the earliest known circular structure in the United States; it was a 16-sided barn built in 1793 on his farm in Fairfax, Virginia. The most famous round barn was constructed by the Shakers, a religious group, in 1826 in Massachusetts. The true-circular barn burned in 1865 but was reconstructed later in that year. During the mid 1850s Orson Squire Fowler promoted the importance of octagonal design in houses for a healthier and better life, but his designs did not include patterns for barns.

Round and polygonal barn construction in Indiana began during the 1870s but did not become popular until about 1900. Nathan Pearson Henley is credited with creating the first round barn in Indiana near New Castle. He constructed an octagonal barn in 1874. However, the majority of round barns constructed in the Hoosier state took place between 1900 and 1920 with the peak year being 1910. Included in the round barn development were polygonal barns constructed with multiple sides including six, eight, nine, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, and eighteen sides. The barns also had a variety of roof types that included domed and gambrel roofs; the gambrel had two and three pitch variations as well as sectional variations. The barns were typically constructed around a central silo which supported the roof allowing the remaining interior of the upper level free of support posts. Constructing the true-circular barns required the use of lumber that was easily bent for forming concrete and sometimes for use of siding and interior bracing. Freshly cut sycamore and elm proved to work the best for these purposes.

Round barns were promoted by agricultural authorities and through farm magazines such as the Farm Journal. Often the barn developer published his own technique of construction in the farm magazines. Professor F. H. King of the University of Wisconsin conducted research on the development of circular silos which led him to design a true-circular barn. His design became the prototype for future round barn development. Round barns were most popular in the Midwest with high numbers constructed in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. Indiana led the nation in the creation of round barns and continues today to have more extant round barns than any other state. However, the loss of these structures is very apparent. Round barns were surveyed in Indiana between 1985-1988; the survey identified 226 round barns of an estimated 250-300 which originally existed. By 1992 only 111 remained of the 226 surveyed with an estimated 40% loss of these structures since 1960.

As the last remaining example of a true circular barn in Marshall County, the Ramsay-Fox Round Barn in West Twp. exemplifies a farm that was on the cutting edge of technology in construction of buildings for agricultural uses in 1911. As agriculture as an industry changed, the architecture of farms began to change also. While round barns were probably the most significant shift in barn design, the industry, with larger equipment and more livestock on larger farms, continued to create more demand for change in farm buildings. A 1953 newspaper carried this headline “Pole Barn-New Innovation in Marshall Farm Building”; it was located on the Pearson Farm in Marshall County, IN. The pole building allowed for larger machinery and more livestock and continues to be the most prevalent building type constructed for agricultural uses today.