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!
John Biendl Farm. Originally built as a dairy barn ca. 1910, the John Biendl 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. The barn is listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register.
Hans Christensen Barn. This barn, which has many unique aspects, is almost a cross between an English barn and a Coast Salish longhouse. Hans Christensen may have obtained the property from a French Canadian who was married to a Sooke Indian and employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a deer hunter. It is constructed with timber frame, featuring a king post with braces, and is clad with vertical riven cedar wood siding secured with hand-wrought nails. The plan is center-drive, with a hay mow on one side and what may have been a threshing floor on the other.
Griswold Barn, Shaw Island. The Griswold barn was originally built for dairy operations. Oriented north-south, it measures 30′ wide by 64′ long, and is almost 30′ high. It has an upper loft with hay door, rail, and trestle, and a lower floor with milking stanchions. Owners Geb and John Nichols used the barn for their sheep, turkeys, produce, canning, feed, and hay, as well as their Red Devon Cows, a rare breed that they were reestablishing. More recently, the barn has been restored, with reinforced foundations and new, locally-milled cedar siding on three sides.
Shaw Farm Barn. Built by William J. Shaw (not the person that the island was named after), this barn measures 20′ wide by 32′ long with a 16′ shed, and is 24’6″ high. The main gable area has a hay hood and door, with wood rail and steel trolley for the mow. The shed addition shows evidence of stanchions and a manure gutter, indicating that it was used as a dairy barn. Nearby is an interesting assembly of farm-related structures, including a chicken coop, milk house, and root cellar.
Squaw Bay Farm Barn. This small barn measures 18′ wide by 30′ long and has a 7′ high ground floor and a 12′ high hay loft. A simple wood frame structure, the loft features a hay drop.
Tharald Homestead Barn. Built by brothers Theodore and Thomas Tharald ca. 1900, this large barn measures 40′ wide by 62′ long and is 29′ high. It has a large hay mow under the main gable roof with a hay rail and trolley that is accessed by a (fairly rare in the islands) vertically sliding hay door counterweighted through a pulley system by boxes full of gravel. The shed addition on the south side functioned as stalls and stanchions for the dairy herd. The structure has log posts and cross beams, while the sides and roof are milled lumber.