Famous Barns

Archives: 2013

Dog Iron Ranch
Near Claremore, Oklahoma

Click here for your video barn tour of the Will Rogers Boyhood Barn.

Born in 1879 in Oklahoma’s Cherokee Nation on his family’s Dog Iron Ranch, Will was a star on Broadway and in over 71 movies.  He was an author and syndicated columnist, a radio broadcaster and a friend to Presidents, senators, stars and slaves.   He learned his love for riding and roping  here … at the Dog Iron Ranch near Claremore, Oklahoma.  Click here for a pdf of the Famous Barns Elevations and Floor Plan it inspired. 

A Will Rogers’ Christmas Story

“Will’s first Christmas gift to his future wife, Betty (Blake) was a “little lace handkerchief” sent the winter after he had taken her to Chelsea to meet his family. He was away from home, but sent her the gift he had carried with him since purchasing it in Africa years before while buying lace and needlework for his sisters.

… The old Indian lady he bought the lace from gave him the handkerchief and asked if he was married. When he said no, she told him to give it to his wife when he married.

He carried it with him through Africa, through Australia, and then home, always intending to do as the old woman said. That year, just a few years before he and Betty were married in 1908, he decided it was for her.”

Source:  www.willrogers.com

Sometimes very big gifts come in small packages …
there’s no better reminder of this than Christmas.  Merry Christmas.


The Astronaut Farmer

Billy Bob Thornton plays a former NASA astronaut who built a rocket in his barn.  I don’t want to give the story away, but he knew that a barn holds more than the harvest.  It holds the hopes of anyone who dares to dream inside.

This (very tall) raised center aisle barn is the perfect barn for horse stalls, workshops and RVs.  Click here to take the video tour.







The McKendrick Barn from Silverado

In order to rescue their nephew, Scott Glenn and Kevin Costner had to surprise the cowboys at The McKendrick Ranch.  They had the help of Kevin Cline and Danny Glover and this barn is where the shootout began.

This is a classic western ranch barn.  In the video tour you’ll see that it’s set on the edge of a western town in a valley that for many of us, is easily identifiable as south of Santa Fe.  It is just one of the sets at the Bonanza Creek Film Location Ranch, home to movies like The Cowboys, 3:10 to Yuma, Aliens and Outlaws and The Astronaut Farmer.

Sign up for Famous Barns updates from the bottom of the Home Page or Barns 101 Page and you’ll go on a different video barn tour every Saturday!

The Forecast on Friday, December 6, 2013 for the Texas Hill Country:  Freezing rain and low temperatures, with more freezing rain in the forecast for the weekend.

Much of the Barns 101 Workshop was a field trip at The Preserve.  (Brrrr….)  And, I don’t want anyone to have to drive in dangerous conditions.  So, we have postponed the Saturday, December 7th Workshop until sometime in first quarter, 2014.

I’ve contacted all speakers and guests – but just in case – I wanted to post here too.

Sonja Howle, Famous Barns


IMG_1148Frank Lloyd Wright’s Midway Barn is located at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  At a time when gambrel-style bank barns were being built, this barn on the side of a hill was revolutionary.  And practical.

Click here to go to the YouTube page and take this barn’s one-minute video tour.




The Pearl Stable  in San Antonio

I’ve just created one-minute video tours of some of my favorite barns from the 2011-2013 Famous Barns Tours.

The first tour was right here in my backyard at the Pearl Stable.

I was at the Pearl Brewery last night, hearing some great lectures from the Jurors of San Antonio’s AIA 2013 Design Awards.  The Pearl has changed since I toured the stable, but the stable still shines like the architectural jewel she is.  Click on the photo and see the 1 minute tour.  You can see more video tours on my YouTube.com page.



Site of December 2013 Barns 101 Workshop

Site of December 2013 Barns 101 Workshop

Equestrian Center at The Preserve

Equestrian Center at The Preserve

Preserve at Walnut Springs is a 2,000 acre development with an equestrian center located between Fredericksburg and Johnson City. Conservation and preservation are at it’s core: 1,500 acres are protected.

The Barns 101 Workshop is scheduled at the Clubhouse and will include a Field Trip Tour of the development – especially the Equestrian Center. As in November, experts in design, construction, restoration, engineering, water harvesting and ranch and equine outfitting will present for about 20 minutes each with plenty of time for questions and a round table discussion at the end of the day. Sonja will share some of the highlights of her 2011-2012 Famous Barns Tour.

The workshop is from 9 am – 5 pm and includes continental breakfast and lunch. After the workshop, consider a drive to Johnson City to see the famous Christmas lights at the Town Square and Pedernales Electric. There’s a great restaurant for some homemade brews nearby too.

Reservations required. Limited to 12 guests. $ 40/person and $ 50/couple. For an itinerary, please email me at sonja@famousbarns.com

Register here.


If you’ve ever envisioned the iconic Four Sixes Ranch Barn in your backyard, the November Barns 101 Workshop is for you. It’ll be held at Wayne Wright’s Eagle Dancer Ranch Barn near Sisterdale, which was inspired by that classic ranch barn in Guthrie, Texas. Go to the My Barn Series on this blog from more about Wayne, and his classic barn.

The Barns 101 Workshop, hosted by Famous Barns, is a way to learn more about barns from experts in construction, financing, engineering, restoration, water harvesting, ranch outfitting and stewardship, Wildlife and Ag Classifications and appraisal values.

This Workshop is scheduled on Friday afternoon, November 8th from 1-5:30 pm. A second, 9am-5pm workshop is scheduled in the area on Saturday, December 7th at The Preserve at Walnut Springs, between Fredericksburg and Johnson City.

Reservations are required. Limited to 12 guests. $ 40/person and $ 50/couple. Email me if you’d like a copy of the itinerary: sonja@famousbarns.com.

Register here.

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Famous Barns presents a temporary exhibit of the works of Jay Hester at the new Texas Timber Frames showroom east of Boerne, Texas.

Sonja Howle of Famous Barns partners with Texas Timber Frames on projects, and said working with artists in the area is a natural: history, craftsmanship and artistry are consistent foundations in her business as well.

Jay Hester of J. Hester’s Highland House Gallery in Boerne, will be installed in early September of 2013, after Jay returns from his one-man Show at Santa Fe’s Worrell Gallery during Indian Market.


Famous Barns will present their second Barns 101 Workshop this fall in the Fredericksburg, Texas area.  Email me (sonja@famousbarns.com) to be on the list to receive information as soon as we finalize more of our details.

Barns 101 Workshops are a way to hear from experts in construction, engineering, financing, land stewardship and water harvesting.  It’s a way to determine in a few hours, not a few weeks or months, the feasibility and next steps for your project … and to meet the people who can help you.

The first Barns 101 Workshop was held in early May 2013 in Round Top, Texas.  Famous Barns’ Sonja Howle partnered with The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell and showcased The Prairie’s Ranger Lounge.   It was not only a great venue for the workshop; it was also a great example of rustic “barn home” possibilities.

And a Famous Barns model has been designed, inspired by that structure.  You can see elevations and floor plans on this page of our Barn Design Gallery.