I almost titled this piece, "I Bet You Don't Know Why Some KY Barns Are Black While Some Are Red." And then I thought, "Why WOULDN'T some Kentucky folks know this? This is farm country, and we're talkin' barns."

Why Some Kentucky Barns Are Black and Some Are Red

Yes, we are talking barns and why the traditional RED is not the choice of color for EVERY barn in Kentucky. When we all travel, I'd imagine the majority of barns is red. It's what I recall. But in Kentucky, there's a need for black barns.

One might wonder why because of how hot the barn's interior would become in the summer heat, therefore making it most unpleasant for its inhabitants. I can hear the horses whinnying now, "SOMEBODY TURN ON THE AC!"

Black Barns and Tobacco

However, animals are not the consideration when it comes to black barns. Tobacco is. And tobacco doesn't care how hot the barn is in which it hangs from the rafters drying. It needs that heat for curing. I'm sure the aroma in a black barn during curing season is quite powerful, now that I think about it. There's nothing wrong with that; my dad kept a pouch of tobacco in the cab of his truck just as an air freshener. And it worked like a charm.

But warmth for curing isn't the only reason to paint a barn black. There's a second reason and, interestingly, a third pointed out by the Library of Congress as part of its description of a 1946 Carol Highsmith photo of a traditional black Kentucky barn:

Black barns raise the heat inside, aiding the curing of tobacco Many got their color from creosote, which repelled termites. Soon many Kentucky barns were painted black just as a fashion statement.

So if you see a black barn today, it MAY not have any tobacco in it; it just might be that way because it looks good.

Why a Lot of Barns Are Painted Red

Typically, though, we DO see red barns far more often than we do black barns, and there's a reason for THAT color, too. In fact, if you have any skim milk, lime (not the fruit), and red iron oxide lying around--doesn't everyone--you can paint your barn red in the oldest of old-school ways. Check it out:

But wait, there's more. Insider Business could've taken it a step further by explaining to viewers about the use of linseed oil as a sealant. The milk/lime/rust mixture would be added, intensifying the strength of sealant. You see, RUST also acted as a fungicide and would kill moss that grew on barns.

Later, as the video described, we'd get the addition of chemicals and...VOILA...red paint.

So there you go. Did you hop out of bed today believing you'd get a lesson on the history of barn colors in Kentucky?

Well, if so, mission accomplished.

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