Saturday, December 10, 2022


Thumb Octagon Barn in Michigan


Traveling through the Midwest this summer? Have children or grandchildren aboard?  The Thumb Octagon Barn is just the place for a stopover, and it is free.

This “is easily the most unusual barn anywhere in the region. It is the largest timber frame octagon barn in the country at 102 feet across and 70 feet high,” according to Michigan Back Roads Getaways. “When construction began in 1924, it was known as an air castle because the entire vast interior is open and the roof seems to be suspended above.”

It’s taken a dedicated team of volunteers decades of work to do the restoration and preservation of the barn complex for the community. Rescue efforts have saved the barn from demolition, then restore the barn, then restore the house and spruced up the surrounding grounds, they said.

School Days at Thumb Octagon Barn.

The vision to preserve grew into a plan to own and operate an educational/ historical/ agricultural site for the education, recreation and entertainment of the community and visitors.

The complex is a great place for kids to explore and folks of all ages to enjoy.

Looking to volunteer while you’re RVing? Check out this place.  One fulltime RVer, Rob Hendershot from Oregon, volunteered for a month while he was visiting family nearby.

“I gave tours of the barn,” he said.  “It was great fun and I met hundreds of people from around the country.”  If you can just pitch in for a day, check to see if there is room on a Monday construction crew.

“Every Monday, if conditions permit, there is an adult construction crew that works on many projects throughout the year. Adults wishing to join may contact: Louis Wehrman (989) 648-3480; or Wayne Lenton (989) 658-8283,” according to the website.

RV campgrounds nearby
Looking for a place to camp within about 15 miles, try Campers Haven Family Campground in Bad Ax, Michigan; or the Sebewaing River Campground in Sebewaing, Michigan.

If you go:
Thumb Octagon Barn Museum
6948 Richie Rd.
Gagetown, MI 48735
(989) 665-0081
Admission: Free (donations accepted)
Open: May 15–September 30
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday Noon-5 p.m..
Guided Tours for groups of 10 or more: $5 per person (children 6 and under are free)
Directions: The Thumb Octagon Barn Agricultural Museum is located in Tuscola County north of Detroit.  It is approximately 1 mile east of the Village of Gagetown along Bay City Forestville Road, 1 mile north on Richie Road, just south of the Huron County border.

Julianne G. Crane
To read more about the RV lifestyle, go to
Images: Courtesy of Thumb Octagon Barn 

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