The Round Goble Barn Near Paw Paw, Illinois

By Evelyn Goble Steen

In the early 1900s James Clifford (9) Goble designed and built a barn. The unusual barn, built on the Goble farm in Earlville near Paw Paw, Illinois is round!

Round Goble Barn

The construction was completed on May 21, 1909 and totaled $2327.34. The corn crib inside the barn is 224 feet around the outside and 172 feet on the inside. It has a diameter of 106 feet and the barn measures 352 feet around. All the cement was mixed and laid by hand and according to the ledger there were 207 sacks in the floor and 206 sacks in the short wall around the entire base of the barn. There were 62 yards of gravel alone used in this project and this was all hauled by horse.

Below is a description of the barn by Jonathan Ray (11) Goble.

First (ground floor)

Two half-moon corn cribs (actually they are in the shape of opposing C's) that go two stories high from which the cattle fed which were run around the outside (yet inside the barn). There is a straight drive through between the corn cribs. On the south side of the barn are two silos which are close enough to pitch silage into barrels cut in half on the inside of the outer wall from which the cattle fed. There is a calving barn attached to the east side of the barn. The round part of the barn is at least 120 feet in diameter.

Second floor

There is a hay mow on half of this floor. It is hoisted by a swinging arm over the inside of one of the cribs. This floor goes around the inside of the inner wall of the corn cribs. There are two grain bins on this floor which could be used for wheat or oats or whatever. On the floor of these bins are trapped doors directly over the straight drive through so that you could drive a wagon through the barn, pull a rope and fill the wagon from the bins on the second floor. The bins are big and I would guess that they could hold at least 1000 bushels each.

Third floor

This is a loft which I understand could hold a plow or some other small implement by lifting it the same way as the hay only one more floor up. I assume that it could also store hay.

Fourth floor

This is a small loft used almost exclusively for pigeons but it housed the most important aspect of the barn. The way my great grandfather filled the crib and the bins was through a conveyor which ran up the inside of the sloped roof of the barn and dumped the grain into the downward spout. This dump happened on the fourth floor or cupola and the downward chute could be directed to reach anywhere in the barn as it ran around the inside of the barn on a rail like a barn-door track only in a circle. I assume that the elevator was originally powered by horses but I saw it powered by an open clutch tractor and a belt.

"The barn was a great place and came complete with bats, raccoons, pigeons, etc. My father has remained loyal to the restoration and maintenance of this structure and, as long as I have anything to do with it, and I think that I will, it will remain standing. My father, Elliott Ray Goble, has been replacing the shingles on the long sloped roof. Each section of the eight takes 5 squares of shingles and needs sheeting, etc., costing as much as the construction of the original building to repair. I think that my great grandfather paid $1.75 per day for a man and a horse and $.75 for each boy. The floor is concrete and the main beams are solid wooden beams 2 feet X 2 feet X 30 feet. Try to buy that stuff today! It is truly a landmark with Goble all over it!"

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Copyright © 1996-1998 by Evelyn Goble Steen, All Rights Reserved
This page last updated on December 28, 1998
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