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Why are barns red?

My friend Jeni recently asked me -- after driving through Indiana -- why barns are painted red. 

I wasn't honestly sure. 

But my dad knew! 

He responded, and I quote, "Barns are red because when they were first built most pioneers were using all their money for tools, housing, food, draft animals, etc., and paint was the last thing a barn needed as long as it provided shelter from the elements for the livestock. When the finances improved, red was the color of choice because it was the cheapest. Many  others say that the color red came from a mixture of rust and oil and that combination prevented mold and mildew. Either way, it was a poor man’s choice and came only after the chickens had straw, the cows had hay, the horses had oats, ma had a stove and the kids had a bed."

So there you have it . . . and from a farmer with red barns himself. 


  1. But I forgot to ask him...why was red the cheapest color?! Now we need a part two to this post.


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