The big brown barn at Prairie Land Heritage Museum is made of hollow terra cotta tiles. This material was widely advertised as an excellent barn building material by the “American Builders Magazine” in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was recommended for barn building because it was maintenance free, since it did not need to be painted and it was warm, dray and rat-proof.
A barn the size of the one at Prairie Land was probably built for around $10,000 during the time period of 1918-1920.
This barn was used to house dry dairy cows and young heifers. It has not been used since late 1958 or the early 1960’s. Mr. Jim Tays was the last farm manager for the State Hospital. He served from 1955 through 1958.
Every year at the Prairie Land Steam Show the inside center par to of the barn is used to display antique crafts being demonstrated such as chair caning, rug weaving and broom making just to name a few. On the east end of the barn is where the kitchen/dining hall is located. This is where those special ham and beans are cooked with steam and served. The west side of the barn was renovated to house the hamburger stand. In the center courtyard of the barn you can eat a meal and watch some craft demonstrations.
Contributed by Linda Berry