Ryan's Round Barn
The Ryan barn in Annawan Twp., Henry County, IL is located at the Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park between Kewannee and Annawan off Route 78. It was constructed by Dr. Laurence Ryan for his Black Angus show cattle, some of the very first to be imported from Scotland.
Dr. Ryan was born at Seneca, IL in the 1860s, taught school locally, studied medicine in Vienna and Berlin and enjoyed an international reputation as a brain surgeon. He was also a pioneer in plastic surgery at Chicago's Loyola University.
The barn was completed in 1910 at a cost of $9,600 and is a "true-round" barn (most round barns are actually polygonal) 85' in diameter and 90' in height to the cupola. The horizontal siding is of pine and is said to have been soaked overnight in a nearby pond so as to be pliable enough to bend onto the convex exterior wall.
There is a 15' wood silo in the center that stands 80' from its foundation in the basement to the cupola. The ensilage was blown in by means of a steam engine located outside the barn. The loft is capable of storing 250 tons of loose hay.
The basement stable area features labor saving equipment of the period such as carriers on overhead rails to handle the chores of feeding and manure removal. The inside circle of the basement had 15 calf pens and the outside circumference had 50 stanchions.
Today the barn houses a large display of antique machinery and artifacts of farm days past. It is open for visitors afternoons of the first, third and fifth Sundays of each month from May through October. For more information, contact Lorraine Owens, President of the Friends of the Round Barn at 309.852.4262 or the Johnson State Park at 309.853.5589.
Submitted by Darrell Keim, Annawaan, IL