ADVISORY! Most of the barns in the San Juan Islands are privately owned. The goal of this website is to provide information about these historic barns while respecting barn owners’ private property. Many barns can be viewed from public right-of-ways. Please respect those barns that are on private property and do not trespass!
Animal Inn Barn, San Juan Valley. This barn has a remarkable spread: 60′ wide by 62′ long, with a height of 25′. It is also noteworthy because there is no indication of a hay door or rail and trolley system. The structure is log posts at 10′ on center, with milled lumber braces, beams, purlins, and roof joists. The barn is part of an overall farm complex that consists of a house, chicken coop, milk house, and granary.
Barnswallow Farm, Beaverton Valley. Originally homesteaded by William Higgins, this place eventually was farmed by Harold Guard, with a dairy operation that included most of Beaverton Valley. Oriented north-south, the barn has a broken gable roof which is 47’6″ wide by 50’6″ long and 33′ high, with a 17’6″ by 20′ shed on the east. The central space was a floor-to-ridge hay mow, with a milking parlor with manure gutter to the west side. It is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
J. O. Bergman Farm Barn, Argyle. Originally built around 1905 on the J. O. Bergman Farm further to the south, this barn was moved across the field around 1920. Currently oriented north-south, it has a main gable-roofed area measuring 17’6″ wide by 30′ long and 19’6″ high, with a loft. To the northwest is a 17’3′ wide by 19’6″ long shed, which has evidence of whitewash, indicating that it had been used for dairying. The structure is milled frame construction. On the original farm property to the south is a house, garage, storage shed, and water tower.
Gordon Buchanan Farm (Old) Barn, San Juan Valley. There are two barns on the farm run by Gordon Buchanan; this one is older, probably dating from the 1890s. Oriented east-west, it consists of a 30’6″ wide by 50′ long, 30′ high hay mow with 18′ wide sheds on the west and north sides. The west shed, which had a concrete floor added in the 1920s, contained stanchions; there is a walkway between the mow and the north shed, which contains horse stalls today. In addition to the other barn, the farmstead includes a house, granary, milk house, and smoke house.
Gordon Buchanan Farm (New) Barn, San Juan Valley. Gordon Buchanan built this barn in the 1930s from recycled timbers and driftwood; allegedly he only had to purchase the hardware. The timber-frame structure has bents that form four bays, with a central 26′ wide by 52′ long and 31′ high hay mow with two 16′ wide wings. The sills are placed on stumps on top of field stones. Entry is by means of a central sliding door and two side doors, all in the east gable. There is a more recently-added small open shed on the northeast corner.
Tommy Davis Barn, San Juan Valley. Built by Tommy Davis ca. 1927, in part with lumber from the old mill at Argyle, this was designed as a dairy barn, with a lower, concrete-and-brick ground floor used for milking cows and an upper wood-frame loft used for hay storage. The plan and design were fairly standard at the time; various barn equipment manufacturers and even ‘kit’ companies featured similar designs. At one time, there was also a silo and pea-viner on the south side of the structure. The structure is 36′ wide by 72′ long , with an 18′ shed on the downhill or west side. There is a metal hay rail and trolley and a hay hood and door on the north side.
Frank Doyle Barn, Friday Harbor. One of at least four barns that were located in Friday Harbor, the Frank Doyle Barn is a surviving example of a small operation at the edge of the town limits. Oriented north-south, the 15’8″ high gable-roofed portion measures 14′ wide by 18′ long, with a 8’6″ shed addition, accessed by double doors, forming the saltbox to the east. The shed was used for milking.
Frazer Farm Barn. With its distinct plan of a central hay mow surrounded on three sides by sheds, the Frazer Farm Barn was specifically designed as a sheep barn. Oriented east-west, the central, gable-roofed 26′ high hay mow is 19′ wide by 24′ feet long, with 16’6″ sheds to the north and south and a 16′ shed to the east. Milled lumber posts and beams support the central structure as well as the side walls and roof. The farm complex also includes a house, granary, and machine shed.
Art Gilmer Barn. At 52′ wide and 60′ long, this simple gable-roofed barn is one of the largest loft barns in the islands. It has two stories: a 7’9″ high ground floor and a 27’8″ loft that was used for hay, complete with hay door and hood and a track and trolley system. The barn is oriented east-west, and the south side of the ground floor is whitewashed, with stanchions for milking the dairy cattle.
Rose Green Farm Barn. Rose Green had goats on this farm in the 1950s; it later became John Bell’s Green Tree Farm Nursery. The barn is a simple gable structure, oriented a little bit off north-south, and measuring 42′ wide by 32′ long and 14′ high. Areas of the structure have been portioned off for a chicken coop and other uses; some of the partitions are made of riven cedar. There are also two log structures nearby: a restored cabin and the ruins of what have been another cabin.
Ben Gruel Farm Barn. Oriented north-south, this barn is one of several farm buildings on the site that include a house, chicken coop, and machine shed. The main gable area, which was used as a hay mow, measures 18′ wide by 52′ long and is 26′ high; a 14′ shed lies along the full length of the west side and an 18′-wide shed along the north part of the east side. The structure, which has log posts and beams but milled lumber rafters, is in poor shape, with much of the walls gone. There are remains of the old hay door and rail and trolley system.
Guard Farm Barn, Beaverton Valley. The Guard family had several farms on the west end of Beaverton Valley, where they raised oats and ran dairy cattle. The barn is part of a larger farm complex that includes a house, granary, and old log cabin that was later used as a root cellar. Oriented east-west, the structure consists of a 26′ wide by 41′ long lofted space with a 17′ shed on the north side that was used for milking. The hay door in the west gable slides vertically, and there is a hay rail and trolley system in the loft. The milking shed, which is whitewashed, contains some remnants of stanchions.
King Barn. The King barn, oriented on a north-south axis, is located on pastureland near a marsh in the northern interior of San Juan Island. The structure, which has a large metal gable roof with sheds on the northeast, southeast, and south sides, is 98′ long (plus the 16’6”-wide shed to the northeast and the 17’-wide shed to the south) and 56’3” wide (plus another 14’ for the southeast shed). The main part of the post-and-beam, center-drive barn consists of seven bays that enclose a 33′-high hay mow, serviced by a hay rail and trolley system. Three large metal ventilators are located on top of the roof. The south shed, probably added in 1934 (as suggested by an inscription in the concrete floor), shelters a milking parlor with an estimated ten stanchions, complete with a concrete floor, manger, manure gutter, and walkways, as well as an indoor creamery in the southwest corner. The other sheds were used for stables. It is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
John Lawson Farm Barn. Originally homesteaded by the Boyce family and farmed by the Wades, this property eventually became the John Lawson Farm. There was originally a farm house there, which was moved; in addition to the barn there is currently a milk house, granary, and machine shed. Oriented east-west, the main hay mow portion of the barn is 24′ wide by 40′ long and 26’6″ high; a 20′-wide milking shed extends along the south side and wraps around the corner to run along the west side. The hay door is on the east side, accessing a wood rail and steel trolley hay system. The milk shed features a vacuum milking system; the cows entered the shed via a ramp and door on the southwest side. The gable-roofed milk house abuts the southeast corner of the barn.
Lawson Farm Barn. Although not completely surrounded by hips, the Lawson Barn has sheds on three sides that form a distinctive ‘gable-on-hip’ roof type. Oriented east-west and built into the slope so as to take advantage of the embankment to form different floor levels, the main hay mow under the gable is 30′ wide by 52′ long, and 36′ high. It has a ventilator as well as a wood rail with steel trolley, a rare example of a central hay system (i.e., without a hay door and hood) in the islands. Each of the sheds is 20′ wide, with the west one being whitewashed and containing 10 stanchions for milk cows. The farm was purchased by Alfred Lawson in 1909, and he and his wife Esther quitclaimed it to their son Gilbert in 1941. It is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
Ray Madden Barn. This small barn has 16’6″-wide by 24’6″-long, 21′ high hay mow with a 9’6″-wide shed with stanchions on the west side. The mow has a hay door in the north gable and a wooden hay rail. Apparently Ray Madden was not a farmer; he was a builder from British Columbia who was a reals estate agent here on the island. Someone else used the barn.
Morley Farm Barn, San Juan Valley. This farm complex has a large number of farm buildings, including another barn used for poultry (see Morley Farm Poultry Barn), house, chicken coop, machine shed, root cellar, and water tower. Oriented east-west, this barn has a lofted hay mow under the gable and a shed addition on south side to form the saltbox. The gable area is 38’6″ square, with the ground floor at 8’9″ high and the loft at 22′ high. Because the parts of the gables have been re-sided, it is hard to tell if there was a hay door, but a wooden hay rail with steel trolley still exists. This main portion of the barn was distinctively sided with shiplap; some of the original walls still remain. The shed, which is open to the east, is 16′ wide.
Morley Farm Poultry Barn, San Juan Valley. One of the few structures in the islands specifically constructed for poultry raising, this barn on the Morley Farm has two stories: the top for feed storage and ventilation and the bottom for the birds. Built on a rock outcropping and oriented north-south, the structure measures 18′ wide by 30′ long; the ground floor is 7′ high and the loft another 12′ or so. The entry, on the north side, is into a foyer with stair, and the main floor consists of nest boxes with feed chutes. ‘Shadow’ lines indicate that there was a gable-roofed extension off the south gable at one time.
Mulno Cove Farm Barn. This big red barn was built around 1956 by Elwyn Ackley, a descendant of Thomas Mulno, who homesteaded the land on the cove that bears his name. Measuring 30′ wide by 60′ long, the frame structure on concrete stem walls is two stories tall, with a 9’3″ high ground floor and a 31’3″ high hay loft. A hay trolley on steel rails delivered the loose hay to the loft through the hay door sheltered by a hood.
Oscar Peterson Barn. Oriented east-west, this barn has a gable-roofed hay mow that measures 24’6″ wide by 32’6″ long and 26’6″ high; one 20′ wide shed on the south forms the saltbox and another on the west forms a hip. The mow has a barn door and steel rail and trolley hay system. The shed on the south, illuminated by a bank of windows, had stanchions with entries on the west and east; the other shed may have been used for stalls. The farm also has a house and distinctive poultry house.
Rouleau Dairy Barn. Oriented east-west, this 1912 dairy barn features a central 32’6″ wide by 52’6″ long, 32’6″ high four-bay hay mow with sheds on the east, south, and west. The east shed, which is 14′ wide, has stanchions with mangers and a manure gutter. The mow is accessed by a drive on the west side. There is a newer 28′ wide by 36′ long shed addition on the north side. The Rouleau Dairy used to have a granary and root house near the barn, which burned down in a lightning storm in the late 1990s. The root house still exists, as does the milk house, which has (rare for the islands) square-notch hewn logs on top of 3′ concrete stem walls.
Joe Sandwith Barn, San Juan Valley. This barn has a simple gable-roofed hay mow with a shed added on one side for dairying to form a saltbox. Another open shed was added on the other side for calf pens. The 21’2″ high main gable is actually square–22′ by 22′–with the milking shed (complete with 6 stanchions and a manure gutter) extending 15’8″ to the east and the calving shed 14′ to the west.
San Juan County Fair Horse Barn. This horse barn was constructed in 1924 as part of the San Juan County Fairgrounds just south of the Friday Harbor town limits. It consists of two sections: an older, 30′-wide, 110′ long, 17’8″ high section to the north and a newer, 36′ wide by 82′ long, 18′ high section to the south. Both sections have frame walls on top of concrete stem walls with wood truss roof systems. Stalls line both side of a central aisle on the inside, and there are additional stalls in sheds added to the east side of the building. The building is located in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds, where there is a practice arena and other, separate horse stalls.
Daniel B. Shull Farm Barn. When it was built in 1908 this barn was considered the largest and most modern on San Juan Island, with storage for 120 tons of hay. Oriented north-south, and projecting perpendicular to the slope, this is a five-bay timber frame barn. The central hay mow is 30′ wide by 60′ long and 32′ high, with a steel hay rail and trolley. The side bays are 18′ wide; those on the south had cow stanchions while those on the north had horse stalls. There is also a 38′ wide by 18′ long extension to the main gable. The farm also has a dwelling, granary(?), the foundation of a silo, and one of the few water towers on the island.
Stanbra Farm Barn. Oriented north-south, the Stanbra Farm Barn consists of a main gable area for a hay mow and a milking shed addition to the east. The mow measures 24′ wide by 32′ long and 21’8″ high and has a hay door with steel rail and trolley hay system. The milking shed has at least three stanchions. The structure is log posts with milled beams, braces, and rafters. This barn was built by Peter Gorman before it was owned by the Stanbras.
Stoney Place Barn, Friday Harbor. One of the few remaining barns within the Town of Friday Harbor, the Stoney Place Barn was probably built by George and Evaline Stoney after they purchased the property in 1906. Oriented north/south, the barn is a 14’ wide x 20’ long, 15’8” high (12’8” on the side) gable roofed-structure with a 10’-wide, 9’0” high shed on the west side. Originally post and beam, the structure has been rebuilt on the inside with modern dimensional lumber (4x6s and 4x8s); however, the original 1×12 board-and-batten vertical siding is intact. There are two remaining associated farm outbuildings: a root cellar and a chicken house. It is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
Straitsview Farm Barn. Built by Peter Lawson in 1863, the barn at Straitsview Farm has a English plan (center drive) gable-roofed hay mow with sheds on all four sides. Oriented slightly off east-west, the central space is 30′ wide by 60′ long and 26′ high. The sheds on the west and south sides are 24′ wide; the one on the east is 18′; and the one on the north 14′. Given the orientation of the structure and the fact that the prevailing winds come off the Straits, the barn was probably positioned to take advantage of funneling the breeze into the center drive to winnow grain on a threshing floor. Among the associated farm buildings are a granary and a machine shed.
John Sweeney Farm Barn, San Juan Valley. Originally homesteaded by John Archambault, this property was purchased by John Sweeney in 1890. Sweeney built the original barn, but after William Buchanan purchased the place in 1918, he raised the wooden timber frame structure onto its current masonry first floor. The hay mow is accessed by means of a dirt and stone ramp (including an old buried tractor!) that leads to the center drive. The gable-on-hip structure measures 75′ wide by 110′ long and is 35′ high. In addition to the hay mow on the second floor, the lower floor was used for milking cattle–complete with stanchions and a manure gutter–as well as stalls and some machine storage. It is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
Sweetwater Farm, West Valley. Originally built by the Alfred Lawson family around the turn of the last century, this barn is timber frame, with a center-entry hay mow and sheds for stalls added onto the west and south sides. The barn measures 56′ wide by 60′ long with a saltbox roof. The Sweetwater Farm Barn is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
Upper Farm Barn. Not much is known about the history of this barn (the name is contemporary). Oriented east-west, it consists of a 34’4″ wide by 66’4″ long, 30’6″ high center drive hay mow flanked by a 23′ wide shed on the east gable end and a 28’2″ wide shed on the west end. The four-bay hay mow does not take advantage of the slope for different floor levels. Both sides of the center drive have wooden platforms raised on top of logs.
Valley View Farm 1933 Barn, San Juan Valley. This dairy barn was part of Valley View Farm, bought in 1917 by Roy and Myrtle (Hemphill) Guard from land that was originally homesteaded by Peter Jewell. In 1950, Clyde and Ruth Guard Sundstrom bought the property, and operated a dairy there as well as raising oats, barley, and hay, livestock such as sheep and beef cattle, and poultry such as chickens and turkeys. The barn is 80′ long, 68′ wide, and 36′ tall. It has a broken gable roof—two slopes per side, the upper one being of steeper pitch. The barn is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
Wooden Shoe Farm Old (1890s) Barn, San Juan Valley. This barn may have been built by John P. Doyle in the 1890s as part of his farm operations. After passing through several hands, the farm was bought by Fred Zylstra in the early 1960s and renamed Wooden Shoe Farm. The barn, which was mainly used for hay storage, features a central hay mow with sheds on three sides. It measures 67’2″ by 64’4″ and is 31′ high at the ridge.
Wooden Shoe Farm New Barn, San Juan Valley. When Fred Zylstra established Wooden Shoe Farm in 1960, he refurbished the old agricultural buildings and built new ones, including this gambrel-roofed hay barn.. It was built in 1963 by Bill Funk, the skipper of his yacht–who was also a handyman. The barn, which measures 67′ by 100′ and is 30′ 6′ high at the ridge. There are extensive mangers or feeding troughs along one side.