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Piggery at Anna Dean Farm
Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, photo by Jeff Winstel

The Anna-Dean Farm was a large scale experimental farm, established by Barberton town founder and industrialist Ohio Columbus Barber. Barber intended for his farm to be the finest in America, and entirely self-sufficient. Barber established Barberton in 1890 as a town to support his Diamond Match Company and his other businesses. In 1905 Barber began his last great project. He amassed 3,500 acres of farm land near Barberton, and began construction on his farm, for which he spared no expense. The farm was named for his daughter Anna, and son-in-law Dean. By 1911, O.C. Barber retired to oversee his scientific farm and spend time at his palatial Italian Renaissance house on the grounds. The farm related businesses included mining fertilizer, milling flour and cereal, and producing decorative concrete work. Farm produce enjoyed a wide distribution.

Barber died in 1920 and his second wife Mary Orr tried to fulfill his plans for the farm, which he had willed to the Western Reserve University to be used as an agricultural farm. Ultimately, Mary was unable to maintain the huge farming operation and the farm fell into disrepair. The house and several important farm buildings were demolished, and most of the land sold for later development. The remaining 17 acres and 23 brick farm buildings, with red tile roofs and art stone (concrete masonry) trim, are all that remain of the once massive farm. The buildings convey the story of this experiment in agriculture, and are a testament to the personality and life of O.C. Barber. Barber’s insistence on the most advanced—and most expensive—equipment and materials for his farm made it difficult for the farm to be profitable and led to its decline.

[photo] Historic View of Barn No. 1 at Anna Dean Farm, c.1909 Photo courtesy of Ohio Memory Website

One of the remaining buildings—the Calf Barn, or Piggery—was completed in 1912 at a cost of $50,000. Nicknamed the “ Pork Palace” this was one of the last major barns built on the farm. In 1915 a case of cholera was detected among the swine and the entire herd was destroyed. After this occurred the Piggery was completely scrubbed down with bleach and sheep were moved into the structure. Tiring of seeing the Piggery sit in the middle of a growing desert, Mr. Barber sold the entire herd off in 1917. From 1917 until 1920, the Piggery was used to house young calves on the Anna-Dean Farm and renamed the Calf Barn. Unfortunately, the No. 3 Barn has been razed, but the pony barn, the brooder barn, the Piggery, and the steam plant remain.

The Anna-Dean Farm is located off State Hwy. 619, at Robinson Ave and 3rd St. SE, in Barberton. The Barberton Historical Society owns and is restoring five out of the eight remaining farm buildings. Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds at any time. An annual walking tour is offered in May. For further information on the farm, visit the website of the Barberton Historical Society or call 330-830-1444.

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