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Mount Vernon


16-sided barn

Picture 58 of 69

The stables, cornhouses, and barnyard that Washington designed as part of the Treading Barn complex. Demolished sometime after 1870, and reconstructed using Washington's plans in 1996.

Determined to get threshing under cover to reduce loss and keep the wheat clean and safe from weather, Washington invented a new type of treading barn. His design had 16 sides, making it nearly round, perfectly shaped for horses or mules walking in a circle. Its massive timbers were strong enough to support livestock treading on the second floor, and a slatted floor permitted the grain to fall through to the level below. The grain was collected on the lower floor, winnowed in dutch fans and baskets, and stored in central bins. The straw left behind on the upper floor was gathered and used in stables or for composting.

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