Around 1981, this barn in the Rural Municipality of Minto-Odanah was featured in a Manitoba Co-operator series on rural buildings. The original caption for the photograph is given below.
This well-maintained eight-sided barn on the Spring Valley Farm near Bethany will be 80 years old next year. It keeps its youthful appearance because of regular repair to its fieldstone foundation and a fresh coat of paint every five years. Owners William and Marjorie Parrott say they may eventually turn the octagonal masterpiece into a museum. Originally constructed in 1902 for James Logan, builder John Angus decided on a bank-barn design, which allows ground-level entry to both floors of the barn. With a circumference of 224 feet, the main framing is composed of fir timbers from British Columbia, with axe-hewn sub-framing and vertical siding. The interior spacing is divided among three main areas: a large central area for cattle; one side for horses; and the other side for loose storage. One year’s supply of feed was kept on the other floor. Ventilation is centralized through shafts leading to the large cupola. As well, this barn has a rather unique water system. A rife ram powered by water dropping from a spring-fed pond located nearly 1,200 feet from the buildings, elevates the water almost 80 feet before it reaches the house. The continuous flow system then circulates to the barn area, and any surplus water drains through to the nearby gully. The Spring Valley Farm plans to keep up its maintenance of the barn even though its use has been mainly vehicle or equipment storage in recent years. The Parrott family purchased the property more than 36 years ago and because of relatively regular maintenance, the octagonal barn is one of the few surviving in the province. Several others have succumbed to the combined forces of natural and economic elements. The farm site is located ½ mile west of Franklin off Highway No. 16, 4½ miles north, and ½ mile west.
As of 2016, this distinctive octagonal barn was still standing at the site in generally good condition, being used for storage. According to the present owner, the red wooden walls were covered with metal cladding in the 1990s.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Co-operator Rural Buildings Series
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba
We thank John Dietz, Ken Storie, and Cameron Nicoll for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Bob Hainstock, Ed Ledohowski, and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 June 2020
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