Stumbling on the Lewis Round Barn Museum

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How’s the song go?  “Some day’s are diamonds, some days are gold”, this past Saturday was both a diamond and gold!  Keith and I struck it rich when we found the lovely Lewis Round Barn Museum.  On our way to a flea market at the Adams County Fairgrounds, we spied the Lewis Round Barn Museum and other sites right before arriving at the flea market.  The round barn sits majestically in plain sight it is 80 feet in diameter with a 40-foot-high center silo size dominating the landscape.

Harley led us into the barn.
The Lewis Round Barn was built in 1914

The barn is located near Quincy, just south of Mendon, Illinois on Highway 336.  Before going to the flea market, we saw the barn and I told Keith that I wanted to stop and take a few pictures after we shopped.  After enjoying our morning at the flea market, we parked and snapped a few pictures, when Keith saw a man with a cute aging cocker spaniel head into the barn.  “Look, it’s open,” he said, and we headed right in!

Thanks to Harley, the dog, we learned that the barn was open for tourists!

History

The Adams County Old Tyme Association has restored the beautiful Lewis Round Barn that the Lewis family donated to the Association.  The Association has since turned the barn into an agricultural museum. Jeanne Lubbe who is with the Adams County Old Tyme Association said that Charles Lewis had lumber mills set up to cut the lumber and that the idea for this amazing barn came about because Lewis had a son that was a student at the University of Illinois where they had a round barn.

Charles Lewis hired Lambert Huber, to build the barn. They used Oak for the beams and Douglas Fir for the silo.  The Fir was shipped from Louisiana up the Mississippi River then the logs were transported by oxen.  Each Fir board is 40 ‘ long and is continuous as it runs up the silo!

Lewis round barn
This quilt is upstairs in the round barn.

The barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and the Lewis family decided to donate the barn to the Adams County Old Tyme Association. “We got a grant for $150,000 from the State of Illinois and hired the Amish and they moved it in 2000,” Jeanne explained.

The Barn Museum

Lewis Round Barn
Today the barn is a museum and downstairs houses extensive agricultural machinery with neat equipment like a cool ice cutting machine that was used on the Mississippi River.  There is also a huge pitch fork collection that was donated.  Upstairs there is an exhibit dedicated to the memory of farm women.

Exhibits include rooms of the house and a grocery store. Visitors that come to see the barn will also see a log cabin, print shop and a one-room school. The museum is open the second Sunday of each month from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. May through October. Private tours can be arranged. For appointments or details, call Jeanne Lubbe at 217-222-0412.  For more information about the barn and Mendon, Illinois, log onto https://www.mendonillinois.com/lewis-round-barn.html.

Some days you just are blessed and this was one of them for us.  When we asked Jeanne where to eat, she shared to try the Paloma Diner in Paloma, Illinois where she said, “The fried chicken is great.”

She was right!  Great barn tour, great food, great Saturday