Today’s blog post is about the walls of the Maplenol Barn. Many barns we see are wooden. The Good Family Barn is not. Its walls are made of hollow clay tile.

Looking at the walls from far away, we can see the bond. A bond is the pattern formed by arranging the courses of brick to have various overlapping joints. This barn uses the stretcher bond, where one course is offset by a half-length over the previous course.

There is also a soldier course. My family first learned to recognize soldier courses during local architecture field trips. The soldier course is decorative and can be seen at the bottom of the above photo.

When we look at the walls up close, we see many colors. The color of clay bodies, such as tiles and bricks, is achieved through a physical chemical reaction during the firing process (both the composition of the clay and the firing atmosphere affect the color). Unlike the color of a stained body, these colors are permanent and will not fade because of weather. Clay bodies can also be given (permanent) texture during manufacture. Our barn has a rough texture showing on the outside and a smooth texture on the inside.

Tim Narkiewicz believed the clay and manufacturing of the bodies for our barn was local. I agree that this is extremely likely. I have toured a brick plant in Redfield and a tile plant (also in Redfield). [TileWorks is now out of business. Sioux City Brick is now in Adel, my tours pre-dated its existence.]