Muscatine Dairy Barn Registered as Historic Place

Jul 8, 2019

The Muscatine Dairy Barn from the inside.
Credit WVIK News

An Iowa building is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1926, the Muscatine Home County Dairy Barn was added to the list last month.

Jeff Morgan, Public Information Officer for the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, says it was once a vital part of the Muscatine County Poor Farm.

"It was used to house dairy cattle which produced cream for the residents. It also generated milk and butter for the residents in addition to sales of those products that would go to help support costs that were ongoing at the poor farm."

The poor farm community was self-sustaining due to this production, providing food to its inhabitants as well as funds for operating expenses. Morgan says its architecture is another important part of its historical significance.

"It's got a curved gothic-roof barn which is still in existence, and it's got a brace-free haymow. This was the culmination of decades of effort on the part of farmers and agricultural engineers at the time to get to where they had maximum loft space in the light-frame, two-story barn." 

It was primarily in use from its construction until 1966, when the county decided to build a new facility. Today, the barn is a museum located next to the Muscatine Arboretum.