African American Settlers Of Cheyenne Valley

State Historic Marker

Algie Shivers - Builder of Round Barns

The Importance of Cheyenne Valley

Printable map of driving tour

PDF version of driving tour map

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shivers brothers barn building. . . round barn under construction

Most round barns built in the upper Midwest were constructed between 1890 and 1930. They were built primarily as dairy barns and were not seen on the Wisconsin landscape until dairy farming became firmly established in the state in the 1890's.

Round barns were built to utilize space more efficiently and accommodate new dairying technologies, including the silo. They were said to use less lumber and take less time to build than conventional barns. Proponents also argued that round barns withstood high winds better than rectangular barns and the circular shape was more "natural".

The colleges of agriculture promoted round barns and the farmers that owned one were considered "progressive and prosperous". It is unclear why Algie Shivers began to build round barns, but he did attend technical college in Sedalia, Missouri where he likely was exposed to modern farm construction techniques. Algie supervised the construction of at least 15 round barns in eastern Vernon and southeastern Monroe Counties. It has been documented that this small area of western Wisconsin has the highest concentration of round barns in the nation. Nearly 1/2 of the round barns that still stand in this area were built by Algie Shivers and his crew. The round barn; a distinctive part of the agricultural heritage of the Midwest, has a direct connection to the equally distinctive story of the multi-racial community of Cheyenne Valley.