Tour Of Our 1880’s Barn, Part I

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

I love our old barn. As a matter of fact it’s the main reason we decided this was the place RancherMan & I wanted to settle in and start our new Homesteading life.

We looked at many pieces of property. And there were beautiful places for sale that’s for sure.

But as RancherMan & I stood there at the cobbled-together gate and gazed over the overgrown and neglected landscape, we envisioned how wonderful our lives could be living here.

And then I saw that old barn. That old, tattered barn. And I fell in love with it. We had a contractor repair the warn & missing skin in sections of the barn. But we asked him to leave the inside – the gorgeous original barn building’s inside – completely intact.

Many people have asked about the beautiful old barn so c’mon in – join me for a tour!

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

Old 1880’s Barn In Disrepair

The photo below is what our poor barn looked like when we first purchased the property years ago. And even in that tattered state, I was smitten.

That old barn had been neglected for decades. Storms had battered limbs into the sides of the barn. Many boards were missing and some of that framing was exposed and deteriorating too.

But we knew we had to do something to save that gorgeous piece of history.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

Although the outside was crumbling, thankfully the inside was solid. We hired a contractor to come strip away the exterior boards, repair parts of the framework and replace the exterior wood boards with similarly-styled lumber. 

To keep the patina I love we allowed the boards to age for 1 year before we sealed them to protect them from the elements.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

1880’s Barn Layout

The front of our barn is the main entrance. It’s roughly divided into 3 parts – the open manger / roost area on the right, the main runway in the middle with separate storage rooms and livestock pens along each side, and a full-length storage area on the right.

The hayloft doors at the top allowed for bringing up or dropping down hay from the 2nd floor hay storage area.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

Manger Area

A manger area is built on the right side of the barn. We opened it up & exposed the posts by removing the old rusted tin and rotting boards that were nailed to the sides.

I like it much better this way and the cows use it as a loafing area.

In this manger area attached to the side of the barn is a place that must have been a feed area. A small piece of metal was framed in right next to the door leading into the barn. I’m assuming that’s where the farmer dropped the feed for any animals penned here.

There are also 3  holes cut roughly from the 2nd floor hay storage area into this manger area.  I’m guessing they were used to drop hay for feeding the animals penned in the manger.

Chicken Coop

The chicken coop is built at the back end of the manger area. A little door has old steps that lead up to it.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

There’s also a full-sized entry door on the side of the coop that allows entrance to the area for collecting eggs or cleaning out the coop.

We currently have our plate too full raising cattle to be able to raise chickens just yet. But I’m hoping to use this coop some day.

(UPDATE – we subsequently updated the interior of this coop to accommodate our free-range hens, you can read about it here –> )

Main Barn Runway

Now on to the middle section of the barn. The picture below is looking down the main middle run of the barn. I Love the detailing!

This room with semi-open walls on one side is interesting, although I have no idea what the purpose was for this small room. Maybe storage? Or maybe tack? But why would it only have a half wall? I have no idea.

In this shot you can also see the hayloft ladder going up to the second floor.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

2nd Floor Hayloft

The photo below is the view looking into the hayloft area. You can see part of the massive roof structure from this angle.

In the middle of this runway ceiling is a huge hinged door directly on the hayloft floor. I’m assuming this is to bring the hay bales up to the hayloft from the wagons. 

It’s also a great shot of the roof trusses. I love all of the barn swallow nests too.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

In one of the rooms I found an old set of chains that still hang inside. I’m not sure how long they’ve hung here but they had been here quite a long time when we found them here years ago. We left them as we found them. I think it adds an old-time charm.

Animal Pens

Looking to the right side of this main runway we see what must have been an animal pen that extended about half the length of this space with two smaller pens enclosed on each end.

I love all these old Bois D’Arc posts and have no doubt they came from this property so many years ago.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

Here’s a view of the longer side pen. 

There were some hand-made feeding mangers in this pen originally. But sadly they were way too far gone to save so we removed them.

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

And the photo below is one of the two small pens on either side of the long animal pen. Perhaps this is where the farmer stored his feed and supplies for animals penned in the longer pen.

There are a total of three of these old handmade doors that were used in this area.

They’re very heavy and I love them!

D'ya ever wonder what it looks like inside an 1880's barn? Well come along with me for a tour of the inside! #TexasHomesteader

When we made repairs to the barn, we left the inside as untouched as we could. So these old heavy handmade doors remain. I love those old heavy hand-made doors and the baling-wire-latch system they used.

How do you like the place so far?  Join me tomorrow to finish touring our old barn in our 1880’s Barn Tour – Part II!


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57 thoughts on “Tour Of Our 1880’s Barn, Part I

  1. Greg Hill

    Nice Post about your barn Tammy,
    Lots of good pictures of it and the history it holds. Was glad you kept the repair work to making sure it retained it character, not many would have done this.
    Thanks for sharing,


  2. Jeanne Grunert

    I absolutely love old barns. I worked in a restored 1880s dairy barn (turned into a horse boarding stable) and we would find all sorts of unique things every time we repaired something. Around where I lived now in Virginia, there are mostly old tobacco curing barns but occasionally we find ones like yours. Thank you so much for sharing this on the #HomeMattersParty

  3. JES

    What an amazing barn! I love how you allowed the wood to age for a year before you sealed it to keep the old fashioned look of it! Hubby would be drooling at the hay areas as we don’t do square bales for lack of weather protection. We do lots of the round bales (but I would see a square baler in our future if that was the case!)…. But one day… perhaps we can create something similar. That is a dream of ours. In the meantime, we are happy that at least our animals have small areas for protection. Thank you for sharing your wonderful posts with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I think so too Judith, since the inside was sound we were able to save the barn. If the inside had been in the same shape as the outside I’m not sure we could have. ~TxH~

  4. greg

    Thanks for sharing your Barn,
    Many nice comments about it from others. Wonderful pics, they take me back to my younger days living in Montana, Haying the summers as a teenager loading up many barns with bails and seeing how they were built.
    Great Idea with saving the patina of this structure, I wish I could look back in time and watch it being built. Oh the stories this Old Barn has to tell if we could just somehow hear them.
    looking forward to next entry about your barn.

  5. Pamela J Smith

    Your barn is just so amazing! I’m so glad you kept so much of the history with it. It reminds me of the barns that sat on my grandparents property. We would spend hours playing in there as kids. Thanks for the tour and I can’t wait to see more!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      That old barn was the determining factor when deciding on land purchase. One look at that old barn & I was smitten! It’s still an integral and vital part of our ranching operations today. ~TxH~

  6. bobbi

    so very cool. i am glad you took the time and money to refurbish this barn. so mny loving hands have touched it over the years. 🙂 thanks for shaing.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I agree Bobbi, and those whispers of the past can still be heard in this beautiful barn. Lives lived, work done, tenderly caring for the animals that provided for them. LOVE this barn! ~TxH~

  7. Ron Carey

    This is a ratty looking load of hay on a set of hay ladders – the wagon platform had a 12″ wide ladder that was about 6 foot high,mounted securely in the center of the front of the wagon.- it was there to help stabilize the load of hay and prevent it from sliding foreward onto the team,when you were going downhill and also enabled you to climb up onto the load.
    You had to step up onto the wagon tongue and then up onto the wagon body.
    Hay could be pitched onto the wagon with a long handled 3-tine hay fork or dumped onto the rear by a mechanised “Hay Loader” that you pulled behind the wagon.
    If you used a loader,you had to use a “side rake” to rake your hay in windrows so the loader could pick it up.
    I may have a picture of one of our hay wagons in my parents album. I’ll have to check.

  8. Ron Carey

    I was born in 1936 on a Pennsylvania farm.All of my parents relatives were farmers. This was a fertile area and most farms were 100 – 250 acres,so the barns were large.
    Hay balers were not available until the 1960’s so all of the hay was made “loose” and a set of hay forks were used to lift 2-300 clumps of hay off the wagons and dump it in the mows,where it was spead by hand – a hot dirty job in July and August.If this was used in your barn,there will be a set of metal tracks running length-wise under the roof ridge.
    If you put “green” hay in an enclosed area,it will heat up and spontaneous combustion will start a fire and burn your barn down – so there were lots of ventilation access points in the upper part of the barn.
    Around here,chickens were not kept in the barn – they were kept in their seperate chicken coop where they alos had a fenced-in “run”.
    The only livestock that were kept in the barns were cattle and horses.
    All barns had a granary where oats and wheat was stored. The oats granary was usually over the horse stable area so the daily ration of oats could be dropped into the horse mangers.
    if it was a dairy herd,there would be rows of stanchions or neck-chains to hold the cows while they
    were being milked.

  9. Carole Paprocki

    What led me to your beautiful barn? I am half way done typing my transcription of my great-grandfather’s 1882 diary. He was a farmer and cattle raiser in Fairfield County, Ohio. I was looking for pictures of hay ladders to include with the finished book. Some neighbors had come over to borrow one of his hay ladders to haul wheat on. Still have no idea what I’m looking for that would fit the bill, but your beautiful barn is the my idea of what his barn must have been like. It’s gorgeous and your restoration is a good job, well done! BTW, I am an 83 year-old widow living in SE MN, which is corn and soy bean country. A cow or horse around here is a welcome sight. Thank you for making his diary come alive.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGoodness Carole – what a great story. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your kind words about the barn. This old barn is the reason we decided THIS was where we would make our home – it just whispers the past to me. I love it! ~TxH~

  10. Lisa Lynn

    I love your barn 🙂 Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you tomorrow night at:

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks Elaine. I really would love to get chickens one day. I worry, having never raised them, about predators and keeping them safe at the barn. Much research to do! ~TxH~

  11. Carole

    What a fabulous structure. Well worth preserving! I’m glad that someone is doing just that.

    My barn charm for this week;
    Noteworthy Musings

  12. Tricia

    They’re all beautiful captures, but I really love the 4th image… sunshine, green, flowers, blue sky, fence, rusty roof & the barn itself all blend together for a beautiful image!

    Thanks so much for the virtual tour & for sharing on Barn Charm!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Anne, I was afraid at first that we were biting off more than we could chew with the barn’s renovation. Thankfully the inside was still solid and we were able to save the barn. Here’s hoping for another 130 years’ service! ~TxH~

  13. Vickie

    Love, love your barn! So glad you were able to repair it. I have always enjoyed physically walking in and/or quietly sitting in very old buildings and letting my mind wander and wonder about the people who have been there before. Older buildings – and barns – are usually so peaceful! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Vickie – I like how you mentioned you could walk in and/or quietly sit in very old buildings and wonder about the people that have been there before. ME TOO! Thanks for stopping by. ~TxH~

  14. Jane Hill

    I love all of your posts and pictures and the barn ones I really like, this barn looks so much like the one my greatgrandmother had in Arkansas. Her husbnd had a huge sawmill and in the barn they kept their mules they used to haul the wood…and even as a kid it still smelled of old leather and horses even though they had not been there for quite a while..and of course there was the chicken coup just like yours and as a small child I was scared to gather eggs and I remember them loading hay into the loft with a pulley system and we of course as kids played in the bales making forts and hiding places…such wonderful memories I hope you keep posting and adding pictures!!! thanks again!!!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Wow Jane – what precious memories! I love that you’ve shared so much of your experiences with your grandparents and their barn. What a lovely comment. Thank you so much for sharing with me. ~TxH~

  15. PK Kirkpatrick

    I love the way you left the chains and old hardware in place. What a wonderful tour. Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. Summers Acres

    Oh this is wonderful. I’m so glad you repaired it instead of tearing it down and building a new one. I love old barns. I just had to pin this on pinterest on my “Barns” board.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks Summers Acres – This barn has been so special to me since the first time I laid eyes on it even in it’s crumbling state. I couldn’t stand the thought of tearing it down – it whispers the past if you listen hard enough. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~TxH~


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