A Barn that Stands the Test of Time-Part 1


The dairy barn on our farm has been a working building for over 100 years. We are not certain of the exact date that this barn was constructed. The original part of our barn was on the property when John J. Zweber bought the farm in 1906.

After a few additions (milk house, parlor) and lots of wear and tear, our barn was starting to show its age. The roof was leaking badly and the hips in the roof were sagging. In June and July, we hired a crew to straighten the barn and put on a fancy tin roof. We have to give credit to those original builders. It is hard to imagine how many storms it lived through, how many livestock have lived in it and how many thousands of tons of hay have been stored in the haymow over the past century.

Before balers were invented and hay and straw could be baled in nice stack-able rectangle shapes, hay was pitched from the field into a wagon and then into the barn all loose. Our barn was built with second story haymow that has vaulted ceilings with no supports. This allowed for the most amount of hay. Cows, calves and bulls were once housed in the basement and hay and straw were house in the upper level haymow. The barn was built into the side of a hill, so that you can drive up to the haymow from the back. Hay shoots line the outer walls of the barn to allow hay to be dropped to the animals below.


In the 1930’s, the second half of the barn was added to the South side. The rock foundation on the East side was replaced with brick. The orginal rock foundation still supports the West side (back) of the barn. Also, a milk house was added in that time to the North East side of the barn (as seen in the picture).

In the 1940’s Emmery Zweber bought a bulk tank to hold the farm’s milk, instead of mik cans. (Emmery was very progressive for the time). Pipe lines were later added and eventually a much larger milk house and office was added to the South East side of the barn.

Date uncertain late 1940’s or early 1950’s

There were a lot of memories made in our barn. Tomorrow I am going to share a few from Jon and his brother and sisters. If only the walls could talk, I am sure this barn’s walls would have a lot to say.


Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com