Last weekend we spent our Saturday helping tear down a portion of a barn in Greenfield, Minnesota that was built over 100 years ago. As we spoke with the owner of the barn, he shared with us some of the history of the barn.
This old barn used to be a dairy barn. There was a birthing room for the calves, which was located in the front left corner of the main bar. There was also a special room just for milking, which is what you see coming off of the front of the barn here. Last but not least, there used to be a "manure" room. There was a machine in each of the stalls that would push the cow pies right down a chute into the room to be disposed of. All of the hay to feed the cows was stored in the loft of barn. In one of the photos below, you can see some of this hay stacked in a corner.
The farmer then explained his theories on how the barn was built in stages, most likely due to the harsh Minnesota winters. You can see how part of the barn was thrown up with just rough cut logs to ensure that the cows had shelter before the snow fell. On the other side of the barn, you can see the milled timbers that must have been used as work on the barn continued after the winter was over.
In the photo above you can see the size of the windows. Each cow had its own stall and a window to look out of.
As sad as it is to see a beautiful old structure falling apart at the seams, it is so reassuring for us to know that all of the pieces we make from this old wood will be cherished by another family for years to come. In some ways, these historical barns can live on, each in their own way.