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Charles Dornbush, barn types, bank barns, forebay, granary, gables, stables


A set of handwritten notes by Alfred L. Shoemaker copied from material by Charles Dornbush, circa 1950. Shoemaker describes eleven barn types, detailing their differences in construction, materials used and layout. He also notes the counties in Pennsylvania where these barns are typically seen.

Corresponds to:

Packet 72-6 to 72-7



Type A. Bank or “Swisser” barn. Cantilevered forebay projects clear of gable wall. Stone on three side sides. Wood forebay on fourth side. Main slope continuous over forebay. Barn usually three or more bays in length. Stables at lower level entered from front. Width of barn generally two or three bays. Cantilever supporter on masonry wall. Type common to Lancaster County and Berks.

Type B. Type in general is similar to type A. Major difference being that the width of the gable wall includes the cantilever on stable yard front. This type often found on almost level ground, use of additional stable entrances in the gable ends. The various kinds of wall ventilators are common to all types. Type is common to all counties.

Type C. The all-stone, two-level barn. Both bank and level ground. Occasionally a forebay, but stone wall continuous behind projection. Length three to five bays, width three or four bays. Stables are entered from lower level. Doors at front or at gable ends. Sometimes stalls are an island with aisles around them, or similar to type A. Shed hood over stable doors. Timber construction similar to types A and B. Found in Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery, Bucks. and Northampton Counties.

Type D. All stone bank barn. Two levels. Differs from type C in use of covered passage in front of stable doors. Walls supported by piers and by arches. Found in Montgomery and Lehigh Counties.

Type E. Generally known as “double decker.” The threshing floor raised a story above the hay-mows on either side. Granary under threshing floor and on level with hay-mows. Because of added level, the barns are higher than average. Also have barn bridge and entrance and entrance to granary from beneath barn bridge. Use of continuous hood over stable doors is common. Timber construction is usually similar to other types. Length three bays, width three bays. Found in Chester and Bucks Counties.

Type F. The level barn. Stables to right and left of threshing floor, the level of which is about a foot below grade, while threshing floor is raised a foot or two above grade. Barn doors at both long sides permit driving through barn. Hay-mows over stable ceiling. All stone walls. Hood over stable doors. Construction common to all types. Only minor variations. Length, three bays; width, three bays. Berks and Bucks Counties.

Type G. “Transitional Barn.” This type midway between types F and C. All stone barn. Stables at two levels and threshing floor intermediate. Hay-mows over stables. Construction usual. Length, three bays; width, three bays. Type rare. Bucks County.

Type H. This type only a variation of type B. Large wooden forebay added and supported on stone piers or wood posts. Common to Chester County. Also found to smaller extent in other counties.

Type I. Primitive two level log barn. Could be compared to type G. This style has almost disappeared. Simple gable roof. The logs are exposed and are climbed and filled with lime mortar. Found in Bucks County.

Type J. Two units and runway. One roof. Logs are covered with vertical boards, no mortar present. All one level. Compare similarity to type F. Primitive form but has elements of later construction. Found in Lehigh County.

Type K. Forerunner of “Swisser”. Upper level is similar to type J. Logs covered with siding. Forebay independent of log units but supported by cantilever beams. General form identical with type A. Found in Lehigh County.



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Notes on Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Types



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