The Main Barn at The Farmers’ Museum began as a cow barn at Fenimore Farm, owned by Edward Severin Clark. The stone barn had stanchions for eighty cows, enameled stalls, two silos for hay and grain storage, and a separate stone creamery for processing the milk. The barn’s grand opening included a celebration on June 15, 1918. Edward Severin Clark is standing in the middle with a cane.
The grand opening of the new cow barn at Fenimore Farm included a sit-down dinner for 150 people. Guests sat at tables with white linens in the central aisle of the milking stalls on the first floor of the barn.
Fritz G. Vogt was an itinerant artist who drew houses and properties in upstate New York. Residence of George Ottman depicts a farm with a farmhouse, three barns, farm fields, a large garden, an outhouse, chickens, cows, and even a dog, which were all typical components of a nineteenth century farm.
The milk produced at Fenimore Farm had one of three destinations. Some was bottled and sold locally and regionally, while other milk was bottled and shipped by rail to The Dakota, an upscale apartment building in Manhattan that Edward Severin Clark owned. The rest of the milk was sold in bulk to larger dairy producers.
Threshing (also known as thrashing), refers to the method of separating grain from its outer hull, called chaff. Until the mid-nineteenth century, the farmer usually threshed by hand, swinging a flail against the grain on the barn floor to open the grain. The introduction of steam and animal-powered machinery in the mid to late nineteenth century, brought convenience to the process.