Do You Know Why Barns Are Painted Red in Michigan?
It's a familiar site on the side of the road throughout Michigan. Barns come in all sizes and a lot of them are red. Why are barns painted red in Michigan?
What are barns used for exactly? National Agricutlture in the Classroom says:
Barns can be used to shelter livestock, to produce a specific farm product, to store farm products and equipment, or for a combination of purposes. The specific use of a barn determines its design. Production barns are used to produce a specific farm product such as a dairy barn that houses a milking parlor.
I was bored and thought about it. Is there a superstitious meaning behind the color? Was red paint cheaper than white paint? Were the farm owners trying to be edgy?
Let's figure this out. The Michigan Barn Preservation Network sheds some light on the color choice:
In the mid-to-late 1800s, when paints began to be produced with chemical pigments, red paint was the most inexpensive to buy. Red was the color of favor until whitewash became cheaper, at which point white barns began to spring up.
It appears that it was more cost effective to paint the barns red.
For those that like a video explanation, this should do it for you. This video explains more about how they made the red paint and it's very informative.
Barns are cool structures. Plenty of "barn owners" rent their barns out for events like weddings, parties, social gatherings and company events. There's something special about all of the old wood. If the barns could talk, can you imagine the stories we would hear? I hope you learned something today, I did.