The completed restoration of the Voelcker dairy barn – built in 1896 – was celebrated in Spring 2013. Located between the 1930’s farmhouse that Max Voelcker built and the original 1800’s house made of limestone, the dairy barn is a remaining symbol of Hardberger Park's roots and heritage as a dairy farm.
The farm, owned by Max and Minnie Voelcker, once stretched across 1,000 acres. When it was purchased by the city in 2007, at the urging of then-Mayor Phil Hardberger, the park measured 311 acres with the farm complex occupying 5 acres. The dairy barn was the most important structure to the Voelckers; their livelihood depended on it.
Restoration: The 1,500-square-foot building went through a major two-year transformation. Rotted wood was replaced; the windows and roof were repaired; new electrical work was installed and the exterior was painted.
The restoration of the barn was funded through the Voelcker Trust and money raised by members of the Associated General Contractors’ Construction Leadership Forum (CLF), a group of young professionals, who also donated their time and expertise to the restoration.
CLF and Fisher Heck Architects worked with the City of San Antonio’s Historic Preservation Office to ensure that the restoration allowed the building to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The Dairy Barn is now used to bring history to life for young school children interested in learning more about San Antonio's roots. Every year in the fall, the PHP Conservancy hosts Dairy Days at the Historic Homestead, inviting the public to come out to see how the Voelckers lived many years ago.
Dairy Barn Facts
- Wood framed structure set on top of a raised masonry foundation. The westernmost section served as the milking barn. Cows were brought into the barn from the doors in the gable end of the structure and stationed along the walls facing the windows for milking.
- The easternmost section served as a place to store the milk, butcher animals, and served as a home for the ranch worker. Gabled structure has a central roof monitor, exposed rafter tails and 4/4 wooden sash windows.