The round stone barn is the first thing everyone who has visited the Hancock Shaker Village remembers. I've never seen anything like it.
At first I thought it must be a church, because of the way it is framed as you approach the grounds, as though it were sacred.
It is, of course, but because of its centrality to the work that the villagers did: dairy farming.
The roof of the barn is a real feat of engineering; I kept craning my neck to peer up at it, trying to figure out how it had been constructed--and why this hadn't been copied a thousand times going forward in some of our buildings.
Notice that several of the logs radiating from the center are split, so that one log can perform the work of two ribs, and the design isn't thrown off at the middle.
All the residents--hens, sheep, cows, and pigs--seemed perfectly contented in their quarters. In fact, the sow had just given birth to a rambunctious and hungry tumble of piglets; she grunted in satisfaction as they squealed and shoved their way onto her teats, and every once in a while she would roll them off her, for a break, no doubt.