Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photographing barns November 19, 2010


A barn between Morristown and Waseca in a photo I shot last Sunday.


HARRIET TRAXLER OF CARVER has done exactly what I would someday like to accomplish. She has photographed a county full of barns and self-published 19 books, including two versions of Barns of Sibley County and books for each of the county’s 17 townships. She’s also created a 2011 barn calendar.

Traxler photographed 1,100-plus barns.

I’ll write more about Traxler’s barn project in a future post because I’ve only skimmed two of her books. The pair just arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

But I’m so giddy about what I’ve seen that I couldn’t wait to tell you. Anyone who loves old barns will absolutely appreciate Traxler’s books and her efforts to preserve barns through photography.

Now that I’ve shared my excitement over those barn books, I’ll show you a few more barn photos that I shot last Sunday along Rice County Highway 16 and Waseca County Highway 7 between Morristown and Waseca. These were taken through car windows—no waiting for the right lighting, no stopping to compose them. They are what they are and I think worthy of sharing with you. Enjoy.



Barn along Waseca County Highway 7



The driver's side rear car window frames this barn scene in a quick shot.



A machine shed with a barn-like appearance. Love the roof line.



Near the intersection of Waseca County Highway 7 and Minnesota Highway 13.


© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


4 Responses to “Photographing barns”

  1. Harriet Traxler Says:

    Hi Audrey – Thank you for your kind comments about the books that I sent you. I just want to make one correction though. There are 19 books in total that I have out together for the barns that are in Sibley county. I have two versions of the Barns of Sibley County – a landscape oriented edition with about 450 barns in it (about 25 to 30 barns per township in it) and a portrait oriented edition (which I sent you) with about 620 barns in it (all the same ones that are in the landscape edition plus almost 200 additional ones). Then I have a book for each of the 17 townships in the county with all the barns that I found in each township in their own township book. I believe I sent you Moltke which has around 90 barns left in the entire township. Some townships have only 35 or so barns left in them which is less than a third of the barns that use to be there. Sibley county was a very large dairy county at one time. It is an almost entirely rural county still with only a half dozen small towns within the county and no large ones. With only about 50 or less active dairy farms remaining in the county it has become mostly crop farming now with some hog and beef enterprises spread around the county.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’ve updated the story that you’ve published 19 books. Wow, now I’m even more impressed. Congratulations, Harriet, and thank you for your efforts to preserve Minnesota barns through your photos.

  2. Donna Lyon Says:

    Have you photographed any barns in Milton Township?

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