Barn and Market History

 

The landmark Round Barn, built 124 years ago in 1893 (though some say 1899), is one of the earliest entirely round barns in New York State – and one of the only ones still standing, in good condition, and actively used today. In 1984, it received the honor of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and engineering.

The barn was built by the Kelly brothers, Hiram, David, Norman and George, whose family was among the first settlers in Halcottsville. The Kellys first settled here in the early 1800s, and over the years, farmed much of the Halcottsville area and ran an electric company. Although only a few houses remain today, the small hamlet of Kelly Corners (located between Margaretville and Halcottsville along Route 30) was named for the Kelly family and was once a bustling community with a post office, general store, blacksmith, two creameries and a railroad depot along the Ulster & Delaware line.

The round barn was designed to be used as a milking barn on the dairy farm to replace another Kelly barn that was destroyed by a fire the year before. The circular structure appears to illustrate the influence of Franklin H. King’s widely published Wisconsin barn of 1890. Two stories tall, the barn is approximately 90 feet in diameter, and rests on a solid stone foundation. Henry Sanford, a noted mason, constructed the stone foundation; his carpenter brother Asel supervised the barn construction. Made from oat timber, the ground floor of the barn housed as many as 51 cows, while the second floor functioned as hay storage. The silo, three stories tall, was filled from the top, and gravity pushed the hay down to the barn floor. Here, the cows, situated in a circle of milking stations, could graze while they were milked. The round structure made the milking of a large dairy herd easy and efficient.

In 1913, David Meade bought the farm from the Kellys, and the Meade family operated it through the 1960s. They welcomed summer boarders and called the place Pleasant Home Farm. In 1981, Alta Industries acquired the Round Barn and property, and donated the barn and four acres to the Erpf Catskill Cultural Center which reconstructed the deteriorated barn in 1988.

The Pakatakan Farmers’ Market moved to the Round Barn in 1996, and it has been our beloved home for 22 years now. The Round Barn stands as our anchor, beautiful and well cared for, still playing a solid role in local agriculture. 30+ vendors bring their bounty to the market each week, attracting hundreds of visitors and bringing the community together in and around this beautiful historic barn.