Walnut Springs Farm
Recognition Award Winner
Year of Award: 1998
Original Use: Dairy, Horses
Current Use: Equipment Storage, Hay, Livestock
The Hosmer Dairy Farm was established in the late 1800s by Edmund Hosmer and his wife Eliza Jane. To accommodate his growing commercial dairy herd, Hosmer built a 60- by 114-foot barn with wooden stanchions for 100 cows, all of which were milked by hand. The foundation and lower walls were constructed of limestone quarried on the farm. An earthen bank in the front of the barn provided direct access to the haymow. In the early 1900s, Hosmer built a 36- by 80-foot horse barn of handmade concrete blocks and board-and-batten siding to house the work horses and mules used on the farm.
Mike and Cathy Brown began working on the barns soon after they bought the farm in 1991, and renamed it Walnut Springs Farm. They repaired leaks in the roofs, straightened and braced the haymow floors and repaired or replaced damaged flooring. They replaced all the windows and doors, replaced broken battens with new wood milled to match the original, and painted the barns their original white color. The Browns spent $25,000 repairing the two barns.
To supplement their beef cattle and hay operation, the Browns have opened their farm for tours. They have a large collection of horse-drawn farm equipment, as well as teams of Belgian and Percheron horses. "We were interested in buying a farm which had a large old barn," says Cathy. "When we found this farm with two old barns we were thrilled." The Browns receive high praise for their efforts from the Missouri Historic Preservation Office, which listed the farm on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. "The Browns have been enthusiastic stewards of these two barns," says Claire Blackwell, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.