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Preserving One of Wilson’s Oldest Buildings: Farm Replaces Roof, Begins Renovations on White Barn

by Zazie Tobey, staff writer

New roofs are well-earned by Farm Crew. Photo by Josh Reiss.

Recently, the White Barn and the former milk house received new metal roofs because the barns were slowly deteriorating due to leakage. The Barn now remains dry, acting as an essential dry storage and livestock space for Wilson’s Farm crew.

“The Barn is a very special structure, both iconic to the college and its history as Asheville Farm School, and essential for farm operations,” said Chase Hubbard the Farm Crew Manager.

Before it was the ‘White Barn’ as we know it today, the Dairy Barn was used to house all the Farm’s milking cows. The Farm Crew boys would sleep in the dairy barn and wake up before dawn to complete milking chore duties. The small building positioned in front of the white barn was “the milk house in the 30s when Warren Wilson College was still the Asheville Farm School…it was used to store milk from the college’s herd of dairy animals,” said Virginia Hamilton, a senior and a farm crew member since the 2010 Fall semester. Last spring, Wilson called in Fernando Luna and his roofing crew, a private contractor to get the job done fast, “so that the hay inside the barn would stay safe from the elements,” said Hamilton.

At one time Hamilton recalls the rain coming straight into the barn. “It was disheartening when I’d go up there to get hay for the heifers or Katie and pull big moldy bales out after the long hours we pulled making that hay over the summer,” she said.

The Crew is relieved to have the slanted metal roof, chosen for its longevity. In the summer of 2011 the milk houses roof was replaced by the Summer Farm Crew, which included Hamilton, Lily Walton, Jacquelyn Roshay, Charlie Anderson, Christian York, Nate Cogsdale, assistant Farm Manager Jed Brown, and a former Farm crew member and ’01 Wilson Alumni, Forrest Morrow. Morrow taught the summer crew how to put on the metal roofing, and his efforts were greatly appreciated.

The Farm Crew replaced the old Milk House's rood themselves in 2011. Photo by Josh Reiss.

The small building, also known as the milk house, is “the future site of the charcuterie (cured meats like sausage, bacon, pancetta) project on campus,” explained Virginia. The Charcuterie was initially Chase’s idea, and he is taking a chefs only meat class to strengthen his knowledge and begin product development until renovations are complete.

“It will house a certified kitchen where we can cure and smoke our own products instead of sending them to a secondary processor,” said Virginia.

Half of the roof renovations were paid for by fund raising efforts of the development office and farm management, and the other from institutional funds including the farm’s budget. It is unclear how much the renovations cost, although the material is known to be more expensive than other roofing materials.

“The work is precarious, so we hope we’re done with roof repairs for a couple of decades at least,” said Chase.

The renovation was a community effort and other crews helped to fix up the barn, such as Electric crew and Rentals and Renovations crew, which is specifically working on the renovation of the milkhouse. There are still many renovations to be made to the White Barn, including adding a septic system, finishing wiring and plumbing, as well as ceilings, floors and walls. It seems the White Barn is becoming the center of the Wilson Farm once again.

“The barn is really important to me for lots of reasons,” said Hamilton. “ It’s where we store grain that we feed to underweight mommas and growing bulls; it’s near the corral where we work cattle; it stores the hay that we feed to our heifers to help them get ready to calf…it’s the power source for all the electric fences in the area…it’s full of memories of stacking hay for hours and sweating my brains out until late.”


3 Responses to “Preserving One of Wilson’s Oldest Buildings: Farm Replaces Roof, Begins Renovations on White Barn”

  1. I miss that old barn. Lots of memories….

    Posted by Dean Scott Mericka | January 17, 2013, 11:54 pm
  2. The historic district incorporates many buildings, sites and features that are part of the fabric of its past, present and hopefully, future. These buildings stand as a testament to the enduring legacy of a community’s development, growth, and redevelopment.

    Posted by Gregory Stambaugh | May 12, 2013, 10:02 pm
  3. It is impressive to view just what modern technology has ended up being.
    I won’t be amazed when they begin making solar energy roof.
    Self-sustaining roofings. In the past 10 years things have actually considerably transformed.

    Can not imagine in an additional 10 years, where will we be.

    Posted by gulf western roofing | September 8, 2014, 1:45 am

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