First Horse Barn (1856—c. 1922)
First horse barn, circa 1910, by which time it was a work shop. Photo Credit: Beal, p. 18.
Alongside the hallowed halls of College Hall and Saints’ Rest, this modest, 28-by-40-foot barn was constructed in 1856–57 of the same locally produced bricks. It stabled the college’s horses until a much larger “New” Horse Barn was completed in 1872, after which it was used as a carpentry shop.[Beal, pp. 18, 267]
Like its two contemporaries, the building suffered from the haste of its construction. By 1873 its south (rear) wall had settled and needed to be partially rebuilt, caused by the barn’s foundations being pushed inward by the surrounding earth; a concrete floor for the basement was poured, “to prevent any further yielding of the side walls.”[12th AR, pp. 40, 42]
The brick work shop’s usage continued to evolve over the next few decades as both its surroundings and technology changed. The second boiler house was built nearby in 1904, and within a couple of years the farm complex was moved further south. The shop turned from carpentry to blacksmithing to become the Farm Mechanics Shop, and supported farm equipment repair.
Ultimately, as the farm continued to grow, the shop finally became woefully undersized for the work, and the last survivor of the College’s original three buildings was razed circa 1922. Professor H. H. Musselman of the Department of Farm Mechanics offered this tribute:
“It is perhaps worthy of note that 3554 students, the greater majority of whom have been farm boys, have had instruction in this building in either Wood or Forge work or both. Work in this shop has always been kept closely related to farm practice. Many of the short course men taking these courses have considered them the most practical for their needs that the College has had to offer. The rugged manhood of Instructors Watt (deceased) and Shafer, is known and respected in every corner of the State by the men who have taken work in this building.”[61st AR, p. 49]