A Brief History of Pole Barns
The history of pole barn construction in the United States can be directly tied to some of the most difficult times in the country’s history – The Great Depression – which devastated the world economy and put financial stress on the vast majority of the American public.
At the same time as the economic downturn, agriculture technology was progressing from rudimentary manual techniques to the widespread use of mechanized power. With more high-powered machinery in use and the economy slumping, farmers needed cheap solutions to house their suddenly extensive collection of tractors, plows, combines and cultivators. The pole barn offered farmers everywhere a quick and cheap solution at a time when an individual farmer and his family were solely responsible for construction.
Are Pole Barns Really Popular or Just a Tradition?
Pole barns are still common in rural parts of the country, although many of the barns are in a state of disrepair as they have faltered due to weather damage or a lack of maintenance. The pole barns of today are mostly constructed out of a sense of tradition, as the structures are a direct link to the past.
Declining Interest in Pole Barn Designs Over Time
The graph below provided by Google shows the declining interest in pole barns over the past decade.
The New Preferred Method of Construction
For many legacy farmers, the pole barn on their property is a symbol of their family history. But as the farmers of earlier eras opted for more innovative farming equipment, the industrial leaders of today are choosing more innovative building structures, including steel buildings.
What is a Pole Barn?
Pole barn construction relies on wooden poles that are anywhere from 4 inches to 12 inches in diameter. The wooden poles form the skeletal structure of the building and are responsible for supporting the roof and overall stability of the building. The poles are just 96 inches apart and often set in unsettled ground.
How Pole Barns Are Constructed:
Holes are dug and wood poles are placed into the shallow holes in the ground.
How Metal Buildings Are Constructed:
Columns are anchored to a concrete pad or concrete piers.
The Future of Construction
Even as the global economy lags behind the U.S. economy, commercial real estate company JLL projects further increases in construction projects around the country throughout 2016. Office, industrial and retail construction all showed significant growth in 2015 with retail leading the way. This growth coincides with the growing trend of urbanization, where younger people are choosing to live in major urban areas as opposed to the suburbs many of their parents preferred.
Some would argue this isn’t a trend at all, but is actually the natural progression of a growing country. These new urban dwellers are showing a preference to rent living spaces over owning homes, which has led to large increases in commercial building construction and multi-unit housing.
As Americans increasingly prefer to live in cities, it’s important that our construction methods are best suited for these construction environments. That makes steel buildings the overwhelming choice over the pole barn construction methods that many of us grew up with.
General Steel Building Systems
General Steel buildings come pre-welded, pre-drilled and pre-punched at a factory, which ensures consistent, precise and reliable construction that can’t be matched by pole barn methods. The steel industry has a long history of providing safe, strong and efficient structures – but it’s the possibilities of the future that make it the only choice for modern construction.
Need Help? We’re Listening
Create your own history by designing a metal building. We offer quick metal building prices and have all the resources for you to get started today. Contact us at 1-800-745-2685 for more details.
Soils Map: geology.com
Pole Barn Photo 1: en.wikipedia.com
Pole Barn Photo 2: northamericanfarmer.com