May 10, 2022
Did you know that the land where the Woodneath Library Center now sits was once a bustling farm? Represented now by the concrete footprint and steel barn frame sitting just west of the Library, Woodneath has a long history as a productive farmstead. For much of its past, farming life at Woodneath was centered around a broad, two-story barn. It’s estimated that the structure was built in a carpenter-vernacular style in 1875 by Presley Moore, the owner of the property from 1870 to 1900.
The barn’s stone foundation, strong frame, and gabled roof provided a safe and dry space to house work horses and for sheering sheep. Portions of its upper stories likely served as a hay loft, while a corn crib or oat hopper may have protected valuable feed from intrusive barn mice. During Moore’s three decades at Woodneath, the barn served his growing livestock business, which raised shorthorn cattle sold to local markets.
In the mid-20th century, the barn also acted as a milking parlor for the Crouch family, who bought the farm in 1923. Eventually, it became the home of Crouch Farm Dairy, a dairy processing and delivery company started by Edwin Crouch that served North Kansas City and Liberty after World War II. Twice a day, every day, the family’s herd of Holstein dairy cows would be shuttled through the barn for milking. After the Library purchased Woodneath in 2008, the barn was deemed unsafe and eventually torn down. However, the recently constructed modern framework points to the property’s agricultural roots.
Commemorating the property’s farming record is part of a larger ongoing initiative to investigate and communicate the history of Woodneath. Other interpretations may center around the historic house, now home to The Story Center, the land’s environmental history, or the property’s connection to the wider community. These efforts are all being made to better understand those who lived at Woodneath before the time of the Library.
Join us to learn more about the barn and Woodneath’s farming past on Wednesday, May 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., as I give a talk diving deeper into the agricultural history of Woodneath. You can also stop by The Story Center in the historic Woodneath house, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Story Center Intern