Traditionally, barn raising were done in summer months between the planting and harvest seasons. The timber needed to complete the project was usually produced in the winter, first by hand (hand-hewn), then later by saw-mill. Barn raising have a rich history in early American rural life. Areas on the edge of the frontier were home to members of communities that often had bonds with each other going back generations. Members of these communities were interdependent on each other; they celebrated together, worshipped together, and traded with each other. This created a self sufficiency within early communities, where barn railings were a common part of life.

By the end of the 19th century, barn raising became less frequent, as people turned to using hired labor. The Amish and Mennonite communities, however, continued to carry on the tradition and still do to this day.

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