As the main structures of farms, barns evoke a sense of tradition and security, of closeness to the land and community with the people who built them. Even today the rural barn raising presents a forceful image of community spirit. Just as many farmers built their barns before they built their houses, so too many farm families look to their old barns as links with their past. Old barns, furthermore, are often community landmarks and make the past present. Such buildings embody ethnic traditions and local customs; they reflect changing farming practices and advances in building technology. In the imagination they represent a whole way of life.