New Lease on Life for Granary

1 / 4
Sections were joined together fairly simply. The roof is bolted together in a similar way. The bottom tier at ground level was replaced by new treated four-by-fours.
2 / 4
Jim Lacey's set up to hoist and move the granary to a new foundation (note the L-braces).
3 / 4
New shingles in place. Panels from a neighbor filled in this opening.
4 / 4
The finished granary. With the “new” wood contributed by a neighbor, Jim built a door to the building that can’t be seen. “The idea is to put a small windmill up inside,” he says, “so when opening the door, it will be right there.”

Two summers back, Roger Buechler and I were coming back from a well job out at Clark, S.D.

We took back roads as transportation of the well rig is about a 45-mph operation. South of Badger, we spotted this small granary back off the road in overgrown grass.

Starting with a county atlas, I made some calls and finally wound up with someone in Sioux Falls who knew the owner. At that time, the owner had plans to move the granary to his house, so we figured it was lost. A year later, Mr. Koopman (the man from Sioux Falls) called and said I could buy the building for $250.

This was handled last summer, while coming back from a job with one of our pump hoisting rigs and a pickup with a trailer. We carefully lifted this nine-sided, 14-foot diameter granary, backing under it and setting it down on 3-inch bridge planks to span most of the structure. Coming home presented no problems: We just watched out for mailboxes and the like as we really were not much wider than a bean head on an older combine.

Last fall, when irrigation season slowed, I dug a nine-sided trench and made forms to fit. Strange things happen. When we finished the last building we were going to have, I gathered up all 150 L-form braces I had made for that foundation and burned them. That turned out to be not overly smart, as I had to make 54 more for this footing. This time my brother Ted took them home to his shed. Luckily, we were able to pick up and move the granary with the hoisting rig on level ground with no problem and set it down carefully on the new foundation.

A neighbor who had been watching our efforts dropped off some panels. Turns out these were identical to ours and had been kept inside for some reason. Thus we had nearly New Old Stock panels to put where our poor ones were.

Shingling involved cutting about 300 cedar shingles on the angle for each side of each pie-shaped roof section. This was done easily on a table saw. Roger insisted we snap a chalk line on each row of shingles, so we have the straightest cedar shingles west of Trent, S.D. By the way, two squares cost $500 and these are not even No. 1 shingles!

After getting three coats of oil-based barn red, the wood decided it had enough paint and left some on the outside for shine. Come next spring the granary will get another coat, and it should be good for several more years. To give you an idea as to size, maybe it would take one hopper full from one of the new combines to fill it. So it goes. FC

For more information: Jim and Joan Lacey operate Little Village Farm, a museum of farm collectibles housed in 10 buildings at their home near Trent, S.D. Contact them at (605) 428-5979.
Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment