Iowa Barn Foundation

Miller Barn, All-State Barn Tour

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The Miller barn, 310 20th Street, SW, Waverly (Bremer County)

The Miller Barn was built in 1914 by W.H Miller and his brother, Gilbert, and constructed with locally grown cedar and native oak.  The Miller Guernsey Dairy was one of over 20 dairies in Bremer County from 1920 to 1940.  The Miller dairy helped supply the local Carnation Company with milk for condensed milk.

This interesting large barn served as a dairy, horse, and cattle barn.

The Millers milked Guernsey cows in the barn.  They went house to house selling some of the milk.  The balance was sent to a Carnation condensed milk production facility in Waverly where Carnation Milk Products Company began producing condensed milk in 1928.

The Millers kept three teams of French Percheron horses in the barn until 1948 when they were replaced by tractors.  Beef cattle were also housed and fed in the barn.

The construction style is post and beam, sometimes referred to as a box frame, and was constructed with locally grown cedar and oak.  Vertical structural members are posts and horizontal members are beams.  Beams at the base of the wall are called sills.  Beams at the top of the walls, at the eaves, are called plates.  Other beams are called girts.  Beams connecting front and back walls are tie beams.  Posts are identified by their location: corner posts, end posts, side posts, and interior posts.   (This paragraph from The Old Barn Book, Noble and Cleek, Rutgers University Press.).

Miller barn.

Miller barn.

Miller barn.


Miller barn.

This photograph of the Miller Dairy Waverly, was believed to have been taken in the 1930s. The photo illustrates up close the history of an Iowa farmstead. The only buildings that remain on what was a 100-acre farmstead are the barn, silo, and house.

Guernseys were milked on the farm and provided milk for the area and beyond. The farm had three sets of draft horses, each pair a different breed. Note there is no machinery, there are no cars, and Highway 3 had not been completed. The farm across the road is gone.

The historic barn will be on the Iowa Barn Foundation's all-state barn tour in September. It is highly visible from Highway 3. It is at 310 20th Street, SW, Waverly.

Gratitude to Kendall and Retha Starek helping to bring this story to life.

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