World’s Largest Round Barn Model will be Displayed at Farm Technology Days
Town of Sigel – For more than six decades, Bill Haas has been creating carpentry masterpieces. A retired carpenter and business owner, Haas enjoys re-creating history through his craft.
Though he spent his professional career building homes and other constructions, and even many of his “for fun” buildings are life-size (including a church, covered bridge, log cabin – and a replica of the one-room Pioneer Schoolhouse he attended as a child), several of his creations are to-scale tabletop models. He has recreated his family’s German-style barn, his wife Judy’s Dutch-style barn, and other relics of the past.
“I just love doing this,” said Haas. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, but bigger buildings. Now I can’t climb, so now I’ve got to make smaller. This has always been my dream – to preserve the history of the area.”
Most recently, Haas has constructed a to-scale model of the World’s Largest Round Barn in Marshfield in honor of Farm Technology Days, which is taking place in his native Wood County this July.
“Bill some years ago had spent a Sunday afternoon at the Upham House in Marshfield,” said wife, Judy. “They had the original blueprints of the Round Barn from which he got some information and drew up some drawings of his own.”
Earlier this year, Bill visited the barn to take photos and measurements inside.
“If I just looked at a blueprint, I couldn’t fathom how they did this,” he said. “By going in there and measuring everything and looking at it is the way I could understand.”
The original barn is 150’ across by 70’ high. The replica is 1/4th inch to the foot.
On January 14, 2018, Bill made the first cut, a circle that would be the foundation for the miniature round barn. During the cold winter months, Bill spent hours in his workshop and made several trips to the Central Wisconsin Fairgrounds to take more photos and measurements.
Various family members helped at different stages of the construction, assisting with measurements, painting, and other tasks.
After more than 500 hours of work, Haas’ patience and dedication paid off with a beautiful recreation of Marshfield’s historic landmark.
“It was a challenge,” said Haas. “It’s harder to make things round than it is square. I’m used to building things square.”
Working from photos that Judy took inside the real Round Barn, Haas constructed his model barn in layers, starting with a plywood base and working his way up to the cupola.
Using a “story pole,” a piece of lumber that worked as a guide, Haas knew how high each level of the barn needed to be and could track if he was meeting the right measurements.
Throughout construction, Haas marveled at the work of those one century before him who designed and constructed the full-size round barn.
“You gotta stand and study how they put this together, because it’s unique how they did this,” he said. “It’s amazing. You gotta put it together to appreciate how they did it. This is put together exactly the way they did it. I can see how they would have done it. One piece at a time, working their way up.”
Along with helping to keep the past alive and recognizing the importance of this local landmark, Haas hopes that his model helps residents relive fond memories of fairs gone by.
“People have seen it who have memories of when they used to take cattle up there,” he said. “They appreciate it because they remember it from when they were kids.”
He also hopes that by seeing the model barn and the complexity of it, that visitors to the full-size barn can experience a renewed appreciation for its construction.
“It was a fun project,” he said. “It’s a miracle it turned out the way it did.”
Calling it the “World’s Smallest World’s Largest Round Barn,” Haas’ model will be on display at Farm Technology Days, July 10-12 in Wood County.