The Henry County, Ohio, Historical Society
P.O. Box 443
Napoleon, OH 43545
Monthaven Barn, Deshler
Attention of motorists driving along State Route 18 between Deshler and Holgate is arrested by an odd-looking structure which towers over the landscape just north of where Route 18 turns west to Holgate, northwest of town.
The first thought of the motorist is that the cupola which towers 75 feet in the air must be the belfry of a very large rural church. However, the first thought is always wrong for the big structure is one of the most unusual barns in northern Ohio.
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The huge barn, five stories in height and 100 feet square at the foundation, stands on the A. G. T. Monthaven farm, which is tenanted by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Rosebrook and family.
The odd-shaped barn was erected in 1910 for the almost unbelievably low cost of $11,500. However, much of the timber used in the frame of the structure came from woods on the farm. The entire lower floor which contains 10,000 feet of space is devoted to livestock pens and stalls, with the exception of a chute down the center below the cupola which is used for forage feeds.
Big bins on the second and third floors are connected to the lower (stable) floor by small chutes through which grain is self-fed to the animals below. The second floor is of such dimensions that there is ample room for the storage of all the farm machinery in addition to the grain bins. The second floor is reached by a long driveway which leads upwards at the east side of the barn.
When hay comes into the barn, it is taken to the third and fourth floors by an intricate system of steel tracks and the progress of the hay carrier car on its upward flight seems a little like the ride one takes on a roller coaster at an amusement park. This track system may also be used for handling bagged seed grains and commercial feed supplements.
Although air conditioning in rural areas was unknown at the time the big barn was erected, it is thoroughly air conditioned. If the doors at the lower floor are opened, air rushes in through the center opening and is wafted upward to the spacious cupola.20px
Anyone who likes to climb ladders can get a wonderful view from this cupola. Deshler, Holgate, and Hamler may be plainly seen as well as a number of rural churches. It is just exactly 75 feet from the foot of the foundation to the top of the pigeon inhabited cupola.
George Hyslop was the builder of the barn on the farm which in 1910 contained 154 acres. Four acres of the farm, across the creek, were later sold to become an addition to Woodlawn Cemetery.
Shortly after its completion, the huge structure sheltered 65 head of cattle, 190 head of hogs, and 14 head of horses. It is estimated the building could shelter 130 head of cattle without crowding. Hay on the fourth floor may be dropped directly into the mangers in the basement by a series of trap doors.
At the time of its erection, the big barn had four silos, each 14 by 44 feet incorporated in the building at each corner. These bins have been removed and the space utilized for other purposes.
There is running water throughout the barn and with the advent of rural electrification, the Monthaven went modern with electric lights.
The eye-arresting building, because of its unique shape, lures many motorists to visit the Monthaven farm. However, if they wish to view the interior of the big barn, they are doomed to disappointment. No visitors are allowed because of the ever-present fire hazards if one smokes in the huge frame barn.
All of the unique design of the barn was carved by hand by Mr. Hyslop, such as the cupola. After the passing of Mr. Monthaven, the farm is now owned by Mrs. Etheliene Yantz and Mrs. Romaine Watson.
Early on the morning of July 9, 1985 the barn burned. It is possible that it was hit by lightning because there was a small lightning storm that night. Some think that it was arson, but it was never proven.
Submitted by Mrs. Raymond Hagen
The above article is reprinted from Henry County, Ohio, Volume Two, A Collection of Historical Sketches and Family Histories Compiled by Members and Friends of The Henry County Historical Society. Dallas, TX, Taylor Publishing Co., p. 55.
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The Henry County Historical Society was formed
in 1970 to perpetuate the history of Henry County, Ohio, to learn about and preserve
the artifacts of the county, and to generate interest in the past of the county.
Our primary focus at this time is the completion of the restoration
work on the beautiful Dr. John Bloomfield Victorian home, built circa
1879. This house is located at the corner of West Clinton and Webster streets
in downtown Napoleon, across from the Napoleon Public Library. The house has been completely restored and is decorated with authentic period furnishings.
Work is in progress on the carriage house
and gardens. The home is open for special events, educational programs
and private tours. We welcome new and old members alike to lend a hand and help us in our
many programs and activities.
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