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Barn House side view.

Barn House (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Bowling Green, Indiana

Jim Pendleton was the Dr. Frankenstein of house building, and the Barn House was his Creature.

This whimsical monstrosity was sewn together by Jim from parts of over 25 barns he has demolished. He dreamed of the Barn House in the late 1960s in high school, and entered his blueprints for it in the state fair. Actual construction started in 1972, on Hwy. 46 about 10 miles west of Spencer. Jim was soon tearing down barns and houses around the state to feed his obsession.

Jim Pendleton.

The Barn House contains 41 rooms, 15 stairways and 15 walking decks. There are secret passages and tunnels, peepholes, a room with 688 hats, a prayer alcove, and a "quickie" room (where a "man and woman can do their business."). Jim recommends that visitors sun themselves in the nude on his sun decks. He has continued building for the last twenty-five years -- his wife left him, and his son and daughter have moved away.

In interviews, Jim drops into dreamer trance and rattles off the minutia of his palace -- number of visitors to date, how many times the Barn House has appeared in the newspapers and television. He fits the profile of other dreamers and obsessed castle-builders.

Rear view of the Barn House.

His second notable project was his "Noah's Ark House," built from salvage to float in times of great floods. It features glass floors with framed family photos below, which might become a wall or ceiling should the Ark house flip over. This is where the family currently lives, while Jim continues work on the adjacent Barn House.

November 2002: The Barn House has burned to the ground.

January 2001: Jim Pendleton is reported to be out of prison, though the fate of the Barn House is uncertain.

The only way to view the interior of the Barn House is to see the video. Mary Ann Michna created an 18-minute video documentary tour and interview with Jim Pendleton in 1993. The clip and images here were provided by Mary Ann. You can see her complete Barn House video here.

Barn House


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