dutch gambrel with name 26


James Hays Barn

Nelson Barn rounded

Nelson Barn

swallow's nest

The Swallow’s Nest


The Dutch Gambrel roof style appeared in the second half of the nineteenth century and became popular after the Civil War.  The gambrel roof is, in essence, a gable roof that has been pushed outwards.  The obvious advantage for doing this is the increased space in the loft created by the bulging four-plane form (Arthur A. Hart, Barns of the West).  Due to its complexity, the gambrel roof is more costly to build but they have often been used to replace worn-out gable roofs (Allen Noble and Richard Cleek, The Old Barn Book).

The Dutch gambrel, unlike the English gambrel, possesses flared eaves.  This “kick” in the roof line throws rainwater away from the barn, which helps preserve the structural integrity of the foundation.

The Dutch gambrel roof, along with the gable roof, is the most popular barn style in Spokane County.  There are nine listed barns that were built with the Dutch gambrel roof in Spokane County, the A. L. Bradley Barn, the Farr Barn, the James Hays Barn, Heathdale Ranch, the Hutton Settlement Barn, the Nelson Barn, the Painter Barn, the Philleo Barn and the Swallow’s Nest.  In a rather unique combination, the Swallow’s Nest is a stylistic blend of the Dutch gambrel roof and the saltbox form.