Society focuses on dairy barn work
With the old Honey Valley School restoration complete, members of the Tonganoxie Historical Society are getting on to the next task turning an old dairy barn into a museum.
Last Wednesday, Rick DeMaranville and his crew poured a concrete floor in the north half of the barn. This will complete concrete flooring throughout the building.
Meanwhile, over in the south side of the building, workers gathered round a double-barrel woodburning stove while the heat took the chill out of the winter morning air. They shared coffee and cookies while planning the day.
George Cooper, a member of the historical society, said four of the 32 milking bays in the milking parlor will be left intact to give schoolchildren an idea of how dairies used to be operated.
Del Englen, another member, said that at one time, 66 cows were milked in this barn every day.
"At one time, this was the largest dairy in the state of Kansas," he said.
Other possible uses of the building may be to use it as a farmers' market, and to have a place for a community room and barn dances.
Because they want to retain the natural feel of the high-ceiling barn, members said that installing heating and air conditioning might not be possible.
But for now, members are concentrating on the basics such as sealing cracks, making the building more watertight and updating electrical wiring.
Historical society members gather at the site, just northwest of the intersection of U.S. Highway 24-40 and Evans Road, on Wednesdays from about 9 a.m. to noon. Everyone is welcome to join them at the site and help with the renovation.