The old barn in the city

The old barn in the city
Nikon F2AS, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor
Foma Fomapan 100
2016

Every time I’ve used it, Fomapan 100 has been good enough as a general-purpose black-and-white film. On bright days I underexpose it a little to avoid blown highlights. But in even light, it really delivers.

I remember the farms of Pike Township in Indianapolis. Some of them, anyway; by the time I moved there in 1994 many farms had already given way to suburban subdivisions.

I used to go to church with a fellow who grew up near this old barn, and he spoke of being able to stand by this barn and see nothing but farmland for miles.

You’ll still find farmland here and there in Pike Township, if you know where to look. But from anywhere you might stand there, you’re far more likely to see rows of vinyl-sided homes or low light-industrial buildings today.

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Film Photography, Preservation

single frame: The old barn in the city

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Pittman Farms

You’ll find these barns standing in a vast empty field on the Michigan Road in Boone County. They’re at the corner of Sycamore St., which leads into Zionsville.

These barns stand unused on seven choice acres on a bustling Michigan Road corridor through neighboring Hamilton County and into this part of Boone County. Immediately south of here, it’s shops and condos and apartments and restaurants all the way to Indianapolis.

The Pittman family has had plans to develop this land. The news stories I’ve seen said it would be a mixture of housing and shopping. But plans stalled a few years ago after the family patriarch died, and it’s not clear how and when they’ll unstall.

So for now, these barns just stand there.

Road Trips

Whither Pittman Farms?

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Photography

A barn in the city

The old barn in the city

It stands among vinyl-village suburban subdivisions, this old barn. 25 years ago it was all farm fields out here. But cities inevitably grow outward and swallow up whatever they find along the way.

The old barn in the city

Except this barn and a farmhouse that stands next to it. I’m not sure why; stubborn owner, perhaps. I can just imagine the fellow: “They can just build their danged houses all around me! I’m not going anywhere!”

The old barn in the city

This is Indianapolis, a city that merged with its county going on a half century ago. Within the old city limits, you’d recognize Indy as a city. Beyond, it is suburban and even rural. You’ll find many barns around the “city.” (I ought to do a photo series on them.) But this might be the only one that anchors a subdivision.

Nikon F2AS, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Foma Fomapan 100

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Barn on the trail

Barn on the trail
Nikon N2000, 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 Zoom Nikkor
Kodak Ektar 100
2015

Photography
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Inside the round barn

Inside the round barn
Canon PowerShot S95
2011

Photography
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History, Preservation, Road Trips

Inside the round barn

My friend Dawn and I make at least one road trip together every year. I’ve always chosen the roads we’ve explored, but this year she said she really wanted to see some round barns. You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl, I guess! I had heard that Fulton County in northern Indiana has a number of round barns, so I looked them up and laid out the most efficient path to see them all.

The best of Fulton County’s round barns stands on State Road 25 about four miles north of Rochester.

The round barn

We stopped to look at it from the road as we had done for every other round barn on the trip. A fellow was playing with his dog in the yard and invited us up to look closer. He said he was the caretaker, and the owners allowed him to give tours inside. He threw open the doors and we stepped in.

Inside the round barn

Dawn said she could tell by the equipment inside that this had been a dairy barn. It turns out that during the round barn’s heyday in America, roughly 1880 to 1920, they were seen as an efficient and progressive way to house dairy cattle. Hay and feed was stored in the second level and was lowered to the first level.

Inside the round barn

The hay and feed could then be easily moved into these feeding troughs for the cows.

Inside the round barn

We climbed the stairs to the second level, where I was wowed by the construction details of the roof.

Inside the round barn

I imagine hay and feed was brought in through these doors and lifted up to the second level for storage.

Inside the round barn

As we left the barn, I almost stumbled over this tin toy car. Somehow it seemed appropriate to find it here.

Inside the round barn

Dawn and I were both very excited by our good fortune to have toured this barn. We lingered for a while after we’d seen everything just to soak it all in.

I may not naturally notice barns, but I can often spot homes that are log cabins beneath their vinyl siding. Check out these log-cabin photos from the Michigan Road.

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