The April Barn of the Month is–hey, wait a second: the April Barn of the Month, on May 6th? So we’re a little (ok, a lot) behind…consider it a belated April Fool’s.
As I was saying, the April Barn of the Month is somewhat appropriate in that it poses the April Fool’s riddle: when is a barn not a barn? What if it looks like a barn, feels like a barn, and even acts like a barn, but…
The Beigin Granary, located in San Juan Valley, sure looks like a barn. It has a central gable roof with sheds on three sides–technically a “gable-on-hip” roof–and measures 32 feet by 45 feet. But upon examination the two flanking sheds are open to the south, and at one time were open at their other ends, for driving through. The central portion, under the gable, is in fact a granary, solidly built with “inside-out” framing (the structural frame is on the outside, thereby offering a smooth surface for the grain bins inside) to deter infestation by vermin (read rats and mice). A wagon full of grain could be pulled up alongside the granary, sheltered from rain, and the grain loaded into the bins.
Although it is not clear when it was built, it was probably part of the farm operations on the Patrick Beigin homestead; Beigin (1837-1908) established his farm in the Valley after mustering out of the US Army at American Camp and marrying Lucy Morse (1848-1923), a Haida he met in Victoria. The farm was a thriving operation, with a fenced orchard, livestock, and grain crops. So even if it’s technically not a “barn,” it’s definitely a fine example of a historic agricultural structure!