The Texas Tech Dairy Barn: As It Was, As It Is by Amy Pippin Mire

Picture2 captioned

Texas Tech Dairy Barn, ca 1930

The following paper was presented by the author, Amy Pippin Mire, at the 88th Annual Meeting of the West Texas Historical Association, held in Lubbock, Texas on April 1, 2011. Since this paper was presented, renovations have been made to the Texas Tech Dairy Barn.


Texas Tech Dairy Barn, ca 1930

Most sources agree that the Dairy Barn was designed by architect W. C. Hedrick of Fort Worth, Texas. He was assisted by Agricultural Dean A. H. Leidigh and Professor W. L. Stangel. Professor Stangel chose the site of the Dairy Barn on his first visit to Lubbock after being named to the faculty at the soon to be constructed Texas Technological College (Andrews 17).

The National Register of Historic Places application dated 26 February 1992 gives a detailed description of the Texas Technological College Dairy Barn. Construction of the Dairy Barn was begun in 1925 and completed in 1927. The Dairy Barn was located south and west of the Administration Building with enough land surrounding it to support a herd of dairy cattle. The structure was constructed of masonry with metal piers and heavy wood beams. The barn was constructed with a stucco exterior. The roof, windows, and doors were all of wood. The barn had an original L shaped plan which included a “milk house” wing and a “sun room”. The “milk house” and “sun room” were one story while the main barn was a two story structure. The free standing silo was, and still is, located to the west of the two story section of the barn. The exterior of the barn had craftsman details in accordance with Professor Stangel’s request. The interior of the Dairy Barn consisted of metal track work connecting the hay lofts, pens and milking area. The tracks were used to transport feed and milk around the barn. The barn had milking facilities for 40 cows, calf stalls, a feed room, boiler room, a chiller, hay loft, a room for an attendant and an office. All milking equipment and overhead track work was removed from the building in 1966.

Professor W.L. Stangel

Professor W.L. Stangel, undated photo

Builders of the Southwest, edited by Seymour V. Connor, gives a short biography of Wenzel Louis Stangel (235) and Arthur Henry Leidigh (122). Professor Stangel was a member of the first faculty at Texas Technological College and head of the Animal Husbandry Department. Professor Stangel came to Texas Technological College from Texas A&M. The Dairy Barn and Dairy Manufactures Department were just a small part of the very large role Professor Stangel played at Texas Tech. Stangel’s area of expertise was Livestock Judging. Arthur Henry Leidigh was Dean of the School of Agriculture from 1925 until 1945. He and Professor Stangel were instrumental in shaping the “Ag Sciences” program at Texas Technological College.

Donald E. Green writes of the first days of classes at Texas Tech in his book Fifty Years of Service to West Texas Agriculture: A History of Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences 1925-1975. Professor Stangel had no offices when the Tech campus opened. His desk was a treadle sewing machine. He did have two buildings, the incomplete Dairy Barn and the completed Livestock Judging Pavilion. Of the 914 students enrolled in Texas Tech, 60 were students in the School of Agriculture. Seven of the first 20 courses offered at Texas Tech involved the Dairy Barn facility and the Ag Sciences faculty. Since the Agriculture school was incomplete, Professor Stangel made do on the first day of class and taught the students how to make a rope halter from lengths of rope the students themselves had to furnish. Professor Stangel’s first cow, the subject of the second day of class, was a sick cow he found in a local backyard. He instructed his students about this cow and everything wrong with her “from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail” (Green 26).

Texas Tech Dairy Barn with dairy herd, looking toward the Livestock Pavilion and Administration, undated

Texas Tech Dairy Barn with dairy herd, looking toward the Livestock Pavilion and Administration, undated

As soon as the Dairy Barn was ready, students were encouraged to bring their own dairy cattle to school. Students had to apply and those approved could bring up to three milk cows. The students cared for the cattle as part of their education. The cattle were housed at the Dairy Barn along with the herd begun by Professor Stangel in March 1926. By the summer of 1926, six students had organized a dairy operation. Students were responsible for feeding, milking, and cleaning up after the cattle herd. One student offered to bring his own herd of registered Jerseys for use as the college herd but his offer was not accepted (Green 34).

Student Dairy Association, undated

Student Dairy Association, undated

The Department of Dairy Industry was led by Kenneth Renner, under the supervision of Stangel (Andrews 116). The Student Dairy Association, organized in 1926, and the Dairy Manufactures Department, organized in 1927, sold milk and ice cream to the campus cafeteria and Home Economics food labs. By 1930, as the dairy grew, students also sold milk, butter, and cream to the residents of Lubbock, delivering the products by horse drawn wagon (Andrews 118). The students received payment for the dairy products they sold to Lubbock residents and those funds enabled them to attend Texas Tech. Unfortunately for the students, Professor Stangel’s college herd was very successful. This resulted in the students who brought their own cows losing that privilege. Students had to remove their cows from the Dairy Barn by Saturday, July 20, 1935 and the Texas Tech Student Dairy Association ceased to exist. The Dairy Manufactures Department continued (Green 47).

Student Dairy Association delivery truck, undated

Student Dairy Association delivery truck, undated

A review of the papers of Professor W. L. Stangel from the 1950’s reveals a treasure trove of dairy records. As part of the Dairy Manufactures Department, extensive records were kept of all milk production. Each milk cow was assigned a number and her production was recorded monthly. Production of different breeds of cattle was recorded for analysis. For example, during the period of May 26, 1958 to June 26, 1958, the Dairy Manufactures Department, housed in the Dairy Barn, produced 31,001 pounds of milk. That converts to approximately 3,875 gallons. The net value of the milk was $1,519.69. The Dairy Manufactures Department sold 10,321 pounds (1,279 gallons) of milk to Bell Dairy and 1,272 pounds (159 gallons) to Furr’s. All of Professor Stangel’s records are in pounds.

Monthly rates of production varied, reaching as high as 72,676 pounds (9,084 gallons) of milk during the period March 26 to April 25, 1957. In July of 1955, there were a total of 64 cows included in the herd. There were 33 Holsteins, 20 Jerseys and 11 Guernseys. The Dairy Manufactures Department employed 10 students and farm hands during the 1950’s.

Texas Tech Dairy Barn, March 2011

Texas Tech Dairy Barn, March 2011

The Dairy Barn was abandoned in 1966 when the Dairy Manufactures Department moved to new quarters. The Dairy Barn no longer fit with the scope of the college. Portions of the Dairy Barn were demolished to make room for the Foreign Language building. Plans were discussed in the 1970’s to landscape the area around the Diary Barn and turn it into a mall. In 1971, Tech administration announced plans to turn the Dairy Barn into a campus entertainment center (Green 136). Those plans never materialized. The proposed mall was never developed and the Dairy Barn and Silo were left to stand alone and deteriorate, surrounded by modern buildings that did not have a tale to tell.

According to unpublished papers in the Dairy Barn Records, supporters led by Arch Lamb, founder of the Texas Tech Saddle Tramps, a spirit organization, spearheaded an effort to save the Dairy Barn in the late 1980’s. Students and alumni raised $50,000 between 1990 and 1992 to preserve the Dairy Barn and Silo. Through these efforts, the Dairy Barn was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. As part of the drive to have the Dairy Barn added to the National Register of Historic Places, several former students who had studied or worked with the herd of dairy cattle had some thought provoking remarks. In an undated, unpublished letter, George Tate, a freshman in 1930, states “…a few outstanding boys who were not financially able to enter college were allowed to bring one cow and put her in the college herd. He would, in turn, make a hand at milking, processing, and even run the delivery wagon pulled by a little team of mules and have no fear of missing a house because Dan and Kate had the route down pat. The work the boy did paid for his cow’s feed and expenses, and the weekly milk check paid his college expenses…Let’s not let this important part of our heritage fall to the demolition crew.” W. W. (Bill) Gregory, class of 1934, in an undated, unpublished letter also gives credit to the Dairy Barn’s program. “Many agricultural graduates from 1925 through the Great Depression years would have never made it if the Texas Tech Dairy Barn’s Program hadn’t furnished employment for them to work their way through years of college.” Arch Lamb’s undated and unpublished remarks provide some insight on how the Dairy Barn impacted other areas of study at Texas Tech. “It has not only served Dairy students. Architectural students have drawn and studied the design and structure of the Tech Dairy Barn and Silo probably as much as any building on campus. Even today in its abused and neglected condition one sees many (a) student with their drawing boards and sketch pad(s) sitting and drawing the historical old Barn and Silo. It speaks loudly of our beginning and past.”

Texas Tech Dairy Barn, March 2011

Texas Tech Dairy Barn, March 2011

As one looks at the Diary Barn today, one sees a building honored as a historical building but sadly neglected once again. The leaders of the efforts to restore the Dairy Barn and designate it as a historic place have passed on. In the rush to keep up with the latest advancements, we have lost sight of our past. The Dairy Barn stands as a silent witness to the past of Texas Tech, a past that centers on the agricultural industry that made this part of the Southwest great. The Dairy Barn should not fade away into that past. Someone, somewhere, somehow should take up the cause of the Dairy Barn again and breathe life back into a building that has been part of the Texas Tech campus since the beginning.

Dairy Barn 2013 by Conner DavisJanuary 23, 2013: At the time this paper was presented in April 2011, the Dairy Barn was not in good shape. There were holes in the roof and the paint was peeling. In the fall of 2012, restoration work was completed on the Dairy Barn. The roof was replaced. The Diary Barn received a fresh coat of paint and exterior damage was repaired. The author is not aware of what work was completed inside the building.

Works Cited

Andrews, Ruth Horn. The First Thirty Years. The Texas Tech Press, Lubbock, Texas, 1956

Connor, Seymour V. Builders of the Southwest. Southwest Collection, Texas Technological College, Lubbock, Texas 1959

Green, Donald E. Fifty Years of Service to West Texas Agriculture: A History of Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences 1925-1975, Texas Tech Press, Lubbock, Texas 1977

W. L. Stangel Papers, 1888-1975 and undated, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Dairy Barn Records, 1970-1992 and undated, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Arch Green and Mina Wolf Lamb Papers, 1832-2002 and undated, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas


1 thought on “The Texas Tech Dairy Barn: As It Was, As It Is by Amy Pippin Mire

  1. I live adjacent to the TTU campus and enjoy walking on the campus, which I consider to be the most beautiful place in Lubbock.
    I loved this article on the history of The Dairy Barn. I did not attend TTU, so I stopped dead in my tracks when I first stumbled across this fascinating building. What a surprise, and what a treasure! However, with the booming population of students and campus in general, common sense told me that the building is most likely at risk to be torn down. What a tragedy.
    Why not convert this iconic old structure from housing a fleet of dairy cows… to housing a fleet of bikes!?
    I have visited several college campuses over the past few years and have noticed that the going thing right now is to offer a fleet of bikes for their students to use. With that in mind, I think The Dairy Barn would make a perfect Bike Barn, surrounded by a lawn and grove of shade trees for students to relax in. The campus would continue to be enhanced by this storied, distinctive building while at the same time, keeping up with the bike trend on college campuses. A Win Win.
    I do hope I never turn the corner on my walk and find that one of the most unusual, interesting and memorable building on campus has been replaced by something historically and architecturally meaningless. The relatively new TTU will always feel like a new-comer if it were to tear down as fast as it builds.
    Denise Pope

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