Round Barn

Round Barn, 1902, Pigeon Falls, Wisconsin             photo 1988

The History of Trempealeau County, has an entry about this land and barn, recorded for all posterity:

Ludwig O. Goplin. Among the farmers of Gale Township who are recognized as successful men in their branch of industry is the subject of this sketch, whose farm of 220 acres is situated in sections 3, 14, 23 and 24, town 23 north, range 7 west. Here Mr. Goplin was born Jan. 27, 1883, son of Olaus E. and Mathia (Benrud) Goplin, the homestead having been in the family since the time of the grandfather, who settled on it in 1869. Olaus E. Goplin, who was born in Norway in 1861, purchased 80 acres of the farm and lived on it many years, dying in December, 1901. He added to his land until the farm comprised 220 acres. His wife, also a native of Norway, survived him about a year and four months, passing away in April, 1903. Ludwig O. Goplin worked on the old home farm for his parents from his boyhood until his father’s death, and afterwards for his mother until she, too, died. He then rented the farm from the heirs for five years, buying it in April, 1915. Here he is carrying on general farming and dairying, keeping graded Durham and Holstein cattle, of which he has 35 head, milking 20. The residence on the farm is a good two-story and basement frame house of 10 rooms. A man of progressive nature, in 1902 Mr. Goplin built a round barn, 64 feet in diameter, and 26 feet to the eaves, and in 1915 he erected a stave silo, 14 by 34 feet. He is a stockholder in the Pigeon Grain and Stock Company and also in the Whitehall Hospital. Since 1913 he has served as treasurer of the school board. His religious affiliations are with the United Norwegian Lutheran church, of Pigeon Falls, of which he is a member, and of which his father was secretary from the time of its organization until his death. Dec. 10, 1910, Mr. Goplin was united in marriage with Ruth Mortenson, of Whitehall, Wis., who was born in Pigeon Township, this county, Sept. 15, 1887. Her father, Hans H. Mortenson, who was born near Hammerfest, Norway, Sept. 15, 1836, is now residing in Whitehall. Her mother was born in Norway, Jan. 11, 1847, and is now living in Whitehall. Mr. and Mrs. Goplin have two children: Margaret Alverne, born Oct. 15, 1911, and Obert Harvey, born Oct. 27, 1913.

I’ve been observing and photographing my chunk of the world since 1964, when my father introduced me to cameras and the darkroom. Since then, I’ve always had a camera and, often, a darkroom. Now, I use a digital darkroom. It’s hard to imagine how many pictures I’ve taken over the last half-century.

Now, I’m finding out. I’ve always wanted to catalog my work but been too lazy to tackle it. Starting in November, I began collecting all my photography from packing boxes scattered around the basement. I piled everything in my office and began finding places to store all it all; 15 file cabinet drawers and a small closet later, I now have an idea of what 52 years of photography look like.

To build my catalog, I needed to create a  numbering system and database. Then I began exploring my images. I’ve never thought that I had a great memory, particularly in the last few years. However, each image brought back that instant. My memories began to materialize from the nebulous past.

I am one lucky son of a bitch. I live in this incredible universe, on this rare living planet, at a special moment when it is possible to see back to the beginning of time and imagine the distant future and the end of time, while surrounded by a continuously changing matrix of humanity. These are the moments when the path of history is set for the next 1000s of years. And I’m here to see it.


Why the Round Barn? Damned if I know.


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