One of the delightful aspects of historic barns in the San Juan Islands is that you can often see them from the water. This is true of the John Biendl Farm Barn, which is located near Broken Point on Shaw Island. You get a passing view of it from the interisland ferry on its run between Friday Harbor and Orcas Landing.
Originally built as a dairy barn ca. 1910, the John Biendl Farm Barn is one of the few in the islands with an intact silo (1919). The gable-roofed structure, which measures 50′ wide by 54′ long, and is 31′ high, is built into a slope, so that part of the floor was earth and part raised wood platform.
Like many farmers in the islands, John Biendl did a variety of jobs to make a living: according to the caption on a photograph of the farm taken in the 1920s, he sold cordwood for burning at the lime kilns at Roche Harbor. Scows were loaded from the shore below the barn.
In the past, the barn owners have put up a wreath on the barn that fills the early dark evenings with warm light–a beacon for winter-weary sea goers!
The John Biendl Farm Barn is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.