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Story ID:1230
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Local Legend
Location:Jefferson New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

On the Eastern edge of the Village of Jefferson, New York is a very unique landmark. It is a barn. A barn that was built in the early 1900ís to store hay. This barn has thirteen sides to it and gives an impression of being almost circular.

This unique barn was constructed in this way so that wagonloads of hay could be driven inside, around the outside perimeter. The hay was offloaded from the wagons into the hay storage area in the center. The normal way of doing it is to off load the hay on the outside, bring it through a door or opening overhead, have it carried along a track until it reaches the right spot in the barn, and then dropped from a grapple fork or a harpoon type fork arrangement. In some barns the load of hay was driven into the barn from the center of the building and then off loaded to either side to be stored in the haymow.

There was an addition to the center of the top of this thirteen-sided barn that appeared circular in shape and resembled a cupola. This structure had windows all around it that could be opened for ventilation and let in the light. There was a small ledge on the inside of this structure to allow a man to go around it and open and close the windows as needed.

Legend has it that in the mid 1920ís a chicken had managed to get on that ledge inside the windows and build a nest. She laid a number of eggs in the nest and was sitting in the nest on her eggs.

A storm came up with much thunder and lightning. The center of the top structure was hit by lightning, splitting the top or roof of the structure in half. The split came right beside the henís nest. The lightning is said to have followed the center pole to the ground.

The hen sitting on her nest remained there, refusing to abandon it. In a few days her eggs hatched successfully and neither she nor her brood seemed to suffer any ill effects. That was one tough chicken!

Photo is of the thirteen sided barn as it appears now. The windows in the top center structure are now shuttered.