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Indiana State Sanatoriurm Dairy Barn

The Indiana State Sanatorium Dairy barn was constructed in several phases starting in 1914. The barn was designed by Purdue University to serve as a model dairy barn for the farmers of Indiana. The diary provided fresh milk, butter and cheese to the patients and staff of the Indiana Tuberculosis Hospital, located just north of this location. The dairy was staffed by a combination of state employees, prisoners from the state prison system and local farmers on a contract basis. Dairy products from this farm were shipped to several other state institutions. The property was originally 540 acres with about half of that area reserved as pasture and crop production for the dairy. The quarter section east of the barn was pasture while the the quarter section north of the Little Racoon creek provided grains.

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Initial Construction

The barn as it sits today is a little over 12,000 square feet. The initial foot print built in 1914 encompassed approximately half its current footprint. The original building cover approximately the southern half of the building. While the construction of the north and south half of the main structure are similar their are distinct differences. The original structure used local source yellow poplar as the floor boards and joists while the northern section utilized pine. The floor in the original portion has 1×4 material to keep hay dust from above sifting into the dairy facility. Other innovations include concrete floors with an innovative drain systems, high pressure water provided by the Sanatorium’s water tower (over 100 psi) and both active and passive ventilation systems.
The barn employed configurable sets of metal gates and panel sections to allow for ease of cleaning. Most of the original panels are still present on site.

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Doubling of the Size

The original barn was designed to occupy it’s current footprint, but was also designed to be built in phases. In 1919 the northern half of the main building was completed. The major difference in the two halves is the material used to build the structure. While the southern half was locally cut and radially milled yellow poplar the lumber in the northern half is band saw cut pine.

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Addition of the Silos

In the early 1920s the iconic silos where added to the building. Before this time, grain and silage were stored in a smaller bin which footprint can be seen due west of the building between the barn and the milk house. The silos are reinforced steel with removable panels to allow the addition and removal of grain and silage.

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Milk House

Sometime in the early 1930s a milk house with a large walk in refrigerator are was added to the barn. The milk house is of brick construction and was plastered through out. The milk house also provided bathroom facilities for the staff.

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Bull Pen Shed

The east shed was the last major addition added to the Indiana State Sanatorium Dairy. It housed the bull pen where the farms bulls where housed when not making more calves to enable milk production. The bull pen shed has a major structural foundation issue on its east wall which will require the reconstruction of the bull pen shed.

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Missing Buildings

While a great deal of the original buildings are extant at the site, many are missing. Principally amongst these are the manager’s house which was located at the site the modern home west of the barn. A small hired men’s house was located north of the barn. A draft horse barn was located north of US 36.

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Renovation Plans

The Indiana State Sanatorium is planning a major restoration and renovation of the Dairy Barn during the winter of 2021-2022. We expect to be open for events during the summer of 2022. The facility will be fully climate controlled with parking south of the barn for 300 vehicles. A commercial kitchen and modern bathrooms will be added within the footprint of the existing bullpen. A new, insulated hickory floor will be installed over the existing floor to help with energy efficiency and to hide the infrastructure that a modern building requires. Every attempt will be made to preserve the history and feel of the existing structure while allowing for year round use. A fire suppression system for structure is planned.