Historically, barns were the central feature of the farmstead and served a variety of functions. The first floor general included some horse stalls, an area with stanchions for dairy cattle, a tack room, and some equipment storage space. The loft above was for hay storage. As horses and dairy cows disappeared from the farmstead, the barn was adapted to other uses including machine or grain storage as well as hog farrowing or a calf shed. Today, most farm machinery is too large to fit in the barn and few farmers keep livestock besides possibly some horses for recreation. As a result, many barns are underutilized, serving primarily as miscellaneous storage.

Surveyed barns have been categorized by roof type, since this is the most obvious character-defining feature. The primary difference on the interior was the size of the loft space. The most common type was gabled roofs. This is the simplest and earliest barn roof type. The dual-pitch gambrel roof replaced the gable roof because it allowed much more loft storage space. Since the gambrel roof is more complex to construct that the gable roof, it is more expensive to construct. The predominance of the gable roofed barns seems to suggest that many farmers did not need the extra storage space and thus went with the simpler form. These farmers were likely only keeping a handful of horses and dairy cows and the gable loft was sufficient for the amount of hay they needed to store.

The gambrel roof and Dutch gambrel roof barn are the most common types after the gable roof barn. The Dutch gambrel features a flare at the eaves. The flare was designed to direct rainwater away from the base of the wall and thus preserve the barn foundation.


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Preservation for a Changing Colorado

Historic preservation has a direct economic benefit to communities and Colorado! Take a look at the 2017 study, which considered the ways adaption of historic places has a direct financial effect on the state.

This updated, most resent study, was the result of a partnership between Colorado Preservation, Inc and History Colorado, funded by a grant from History Colorado's State Historical Fund. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program.

In a key finding, researchers determined that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado it produced $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state!

The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, responds to the state’s changing demographics, and addresses climate concerns.

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