by Michael R. Allen
While driving in Monroe County, Illinois recently, I was delighted to find an intact historic corn crib still in use. This crib stands on the east side of Bluff Road between Fults and Kaskaskia roads. Corn cribs are used for storing whole ears of corn for livestock feed. Due to the widespread use of processed feeds since the middle twentieth century, corn crib usage is very low and corn cribs are poised to become an extinct agricultural building type.
The corn crib is part of a farm that includes a historic one-story, side-gabled frame house, replete with standing-seem metal roof, wooden window sashes and two additions. That level of historic integrity is not entirely uncommon on surviving farmsteads in southern Illinois. Many have been clad in newer siding, like this one, but metal roofs and wooden doors and sashes are common. Some farms still believe in the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” (Although I’m sure many farmers are simply working from “we’re broke, so we can’t fix it.”)