The Municipality of Austin’s cultural committee in Eastern Townships organised a guided tour of 2 round barns in the area last summer. Here is the one from Austin that I painted a few weeks ago.
This barn is located on a private property which borders lake Memphremagog. I do not believe it is visible from the lake and it is not from the road either. An architectural treasure well hidden and protected by the government because this barn “was classified historical building in 1984, which requires the owners to preserve it in good condition and allows them, to this end, some financial or technical assistance from the ministry” (1). It is in 1907 that Damase Amédée Dufresne gave the contract to a local carpenter to build it with the intention of exploiting it as a dairy farm. The overall structure is characterized by the construction technique used at the time and the form of its buildings.
According to Eric Arthur, the Canadian architectural historian that published a book entitled “The Barn” in 1972, the round barn of Austin is “remarkable because it was conceived by empirical means without the contribution of an engineer and of his precise knowledge on the way in which softwood lumber of any given size reacts under compressive forces of tension in normal or unfavourable conditions. There is no silo nor central post… Interior space is completely free thanks to a superb roof of radiant rafters.” (1)
Several historical information on the arrival of the round barns in the region as well as other references will be available on my next post.