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Barn Project Documenting Chisago County Barns

By Mike Chrun and Michelle Terrell

The wooden barns that once dotted the Chisago County landscape are becoming fewer and fewer every year.  As the population of the county tripled between 1970 and 2010, and the area transitioned from one dominated by rural farming to an outer ring of the Twin Cities, the number of family farms began to decrease and the number of barns with them.  While some barns, like the Moody round barn have been actively preserved or have found new life as event venues, many barns no longer needed have collapsed or are taken down.  As these barns have disappeared, a part of the area’s history has been lost.

In response to these losses, the St. Croix Valley Camera Club has undertaken a project to document as many surviving historic Chisago County barns as possible. While some barns can be photographed from public roads, many barns are hidden from sight in farm groves or are better photographed onsite.  If you have a barn still on your property, the club wishes to get permission to come out and photograph it. The condition of the barn doesn’t matter; preserving through a photograph what is left is better than having no record of it at all.  The club would also like to learn about the history of the barn if possible.

The photos and information gathered will be shared with the Chisago County Historical Society. In exchange for allowing photographers to visit their barn, the owner will be given an 8 x 10 keepsake color print. If you wish to participate in this project, or if you have names of barn owners to contact, you may get in touch with the club:

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