Kosti Ruohomaa’s interest in folk traditions, historic structures, and rural life came together in a study of Pennsylvania barns he did for Life magazine in 1944. German-speaking agrarian immigrants built farm buildings in Pennsylvania throughout the 19th century. Two distinctive features of Pennsylvania barn architecture are: being banked into a hill (which allowed ground-level access to the upper floor of the barn from the hill side); and an overhang, where the upper story of the structure extends beyond the lower level by ten feet or so, sometimes supported by posts. Barn stars are a decorative feature of this architecture which became a popular and preserved folk tradition. Brightly painted circular decorations include symmetrical star and rounded comma shapes. Kosti photographed many old beautiful barns, along with accompanying fields, animals, and proud farmers.
Deanna Bonner-Ganter, The Photographer Poet (2016)