As you drive toward Eastsound from Orcas Landing, a valley soon opens up and you can see a low-slung barn on the right with two distinctive roof vents: Like the Hambly Apple House, this unique structure was originally used for fruit storage, and its form is signal to its purpose.
This barn is one of the few that we know who designed it: builder and carpenter F.J. Reddig, who built many of the fruit evaporators (dryers) at the height of apple and pear production on Orcas Island. Reddig constructed this barn in 1901 as fruit storage for George Myers. Myers, along with his neighbor George W. Gibbs, grew several varieties of apples and pears, and even shipped his crop as far as New York City for what was then splendid profits.
The structure was designed to keep fruit cool on the ground floor by venting warm air through the roof. Oriented north-south, the gable-roofed section, which is one story with an attic, measures 24′ wide by 48′ long and is 18’6″ high. There is a 12′ wide shed on the west side, with a dormer that allows for access and shelter to the center drive. Two tall ventilators on the roof drew warm air out of the building, and the frame walls and ceiling were packed with sawdust to help insulate the fruit storage space on the ground floor.
So the next time you pass through Warm Valley going to or from the ferry, give a shout-out to this wonderfully adaptive structure!