Cantilever Barn in Cades Cove

Another feature of the Cable Mill display of Cades Cove is the preserved Cantilever barn, a design in which the upper story was larger than its base. This design allowed animals which were normally outside to stand underneath the over hang in order to get out of the sun or rain. The farm animals resting under the eaves in Cades Cove would have included pigs, hogs, chickens, goats, and in wintertime, cattle.

In summer cove farmer’s cattled were kept on the grassy balds of the Great Smoky Mountains. Gregory’s Bald is one still in existence today and was named for one of the men who made their living looking after the cattle in the summertime. Also, farm equipment could be kept dry if placed under the large eaves of the cantilevered barn as there were no posts or walls to get in the way.

“Col. Hamp” Tipton, who served in the Mexican War, had the Tipton Place built in the early 1870s. The cantilever barn, a replica of an earlier one in the same place, stands on the other side of the road from the house.

Cantilever barns usually have two log cribs, each measuring about twelve feet by eighteen feet and separated by a fourteen- to sixteen-foot driveway. The topmost logs of each crib extend eight to ten feet out to the barn’s sides, becoming the cantilevered primary supports for a whole series of long secondary cantilevers which run from front to back across the entire length of the barn. A heavy timber frame, aligned over the corners of the cribs and the outer ends of the cantilevers, supports eave beams and heavy purlins, which are the major structural features of the loft. Most barns have a gable roof. Lofts were originally used for storing hay, loaded conveniently from wagons pulled into the driveway between the cribs. The cribs were livestock pens, while the sheltered area under the overhanging loft provided space for storing equipment and grooming animals.

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