Post frame and timber frame construction have existed in the United States for at least two centuries. These two building techniques, also related to pier and beam construction, are not identical, but their similarities are significant enough to identify a shared history.
The now popular pole barn, which has also evolved into post frame barns and other post frame buildings, began to gain widespread popularity during the 1930s as agricultural methods changed and required larger barns and storage for engine-driven farm machinery. Today, post-frame construction and pole-barns are still the most popular style of farm buildings in West Virginia.
Industrialization in the United States grew rapidly after the Civil War. The first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, Henry Ford’s Model T was introduced in 1908, and the first John Deere Model D tractor was sold in 1923. As tractors with internal-combustion engines––like the popular Model D––replaced horses, farmers were able to increase productivity drastically. Greater productivity and competition produced a need for larger and cheaper farm buildings in West Virginia and other states.
Farmers in the depression era (and later) needed a low-cost and easy to assemble method for agricultural buildings in West Virginia. Pole frame construction fit that need perfectly. The structure of early pole barns relied primarily on burying telephone poles or tree trunks in the ground. These poles (or posts) served as solid supports for the roof and allowed for large open areas inside the barn appropriate for storing large farm equipment.
Other construction methods such as log cabins, stick-frame construction, and brick or stone construction required much more material, more labor, and took longer to build. At the time, these were not as appropriate for creating large interior spaces.
Since pole barns first became popular in the 1930s, pole barn builders in West Virginia and other states have come a long way. Instead of telephone poles and tree trunks, West Virginia pole barn builders use glue-laminated columns chemically treated to prevent termites and resist moisture. Posts are also set into concrete footings instead of directly into the dirt. At MQS Structures, we offer a 50-year column warranty and 40-year steel warranty.
Pole barns have been a popular choice for farmers for nearly one hundred years now, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. Pole frame and post frame construction is still your best option for cost-efficient, durable, and attractive agricultural buildings in West Virginia.
Check out our website or contact us to learn about the many build options we offer for your next project. We would love to answer any questions you have.
At MQS Structures, we are post-frame construction specialists with the knowledge, experience, and proper training to build the perfect structure for your needs.