Public appreciates round barn at open house



Jackson County’s sole round barn was visited by barn enthusiasts at a recent open house to commemorate its renovations.

The Stuckwish Round Barn, located at 4400 S. County Road 460W, Vallonia, was built in 1911 for $1,500 by George Stuckwish with foreman Daryl Carter. 

It is 60 feet in diameter with a self-supporting two-pitch gambrel roof and two floors.

Last December, it was painted red, in contrast to its white color before, and had its sill plates replaced to reinforce the barn’s infrastructure. New windows and window siding also were added to the barn.

Since then, the cupola has been painted red, a stairway has been added for access to the barn’s second floor and railing was constructed to prevent people from falling. 

Red was chosen for the repainting because that’s what color the barn was when it was originally built. 

Photos of the barn since it was built and while it was being renovated were added on the inside walls of the barn for viewing as well as pictures and mementos of the Stuckwish family.

Ruben Schwartz of Schwartz Barn and Restoration in Geneva did the renovations. Roger Wischmeier of Seymour supervised the renovations and has worked on the barn for several years.

George Stuckwish’s great-granddaughter, Barbara Grassl, is a co-owner of the barn with her sister, Rebecca Pownall. They both funded the renovations of the barn. Grassl lives in Naples, Florida, while Pownall is in Cleveland, Ohio.

Initial talks about about renovating the round barn to keep it from collapsing started in early 2019 between Wischmeier, Grassl, and Pownall.

Grassl was in attendance at the open house June 19, and she said the day before was the first time she saw the barn’s renovations in person.

After flying into Indiana and making it to Vallonia, she said she was overwhelmed, in awe and very proud of the work done. 

"The pictures don’t do it justice," she said.

Debra Skinner traveled to see the round barn from Cicero after hearing about the open house on Round Barns of America Facebook page. 

She said the barn is beautiful, and she’s glad it’s still standing.

“Every time I go by a barn when I’m traveling and it has imploded in on itself, it’s like, ‘Another old barn bites the dust,’” she said.

Brownstown resident David Martindale shared the same sentiment as Skinner about the barn standing the test of time.

“There’s nothing sadder than seeing a barn fall," he said. "I’d rather see a barn saved than a house."

He said he was visiting the barn because he was fascinated by the structure and amazed by how its round structure was built.

As for how long the barn will be around, Grassl said she has high hopes for its lifespan. 

"It’s preserved now so it’ll last, I hope, another 100 years," she said.

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