A week or so ago a friend stopped by. She said the Huntley barn and buildings were soon to be torn down.
The Huntley Farm was an exceedingly beautiful farm on Dunsha Rd., near the crossing of State Rd. in Medina Co. It’s a farm I had always admired. There was a very large barn with two tall silos, and a smaller barn connected at an angle. Across the field drive was a number of out buildings and shops. Nearest the road was a drive through corn crib. Then a work shop connected with a common wall to the crib. The shop had a brick chimney for using a stove. Next was a smaller room of unclear use, and then an adjoining very large two story equipment shed with a number of double doors. Above the equipment was a second story chicken house. In front of the barns sat a block milk house.
It was interesting to look in the buildings. To the best of my recollection the farm buildings have stood unused for 20 some years. I’m sure that any number of folks have “visited” to view the remains. I ‘spect some things somehow found their way home with some of the visitors. But, there was actually still quite a bit of equipment left laying here and there. It all looked quite old, and probably was last used a generation, even two, ago. In the main barn there were two large grain rooms. Feed sacks and grain still lay on the floor. A hay elevator rested where it has been for many years, and nearby was a post hole digger used on a tractor before there was 3 point hitch. The auger is unlike anything I have ever seen. It looked much more like an Archimedes water screw than our more modern post hole diggers. On the east side of the barn one thing I found particularly interesting, and sad, was a hay shoot for dropping hay to the animals below. On a nail on the side of the shoot, were hung many baling strings from when Mr. Huntley threw down hay to the cows below. All the work and making a crop and caring for his animals year after year was then remembered only in those hundreds of strings.
Across the way in the crib there were still mounds of corn cobs, the kernels long since chewed up by hungry mice. In the shop were all sorts of tractor and equipment bits and pieces. Any of Mr. Huntley’s useful tools had long since been removed, but the old, no longer usable, parts awaited his return. In the back of the shop, someone had built a stairs leading to a low loft tucked in below the ceiling. There were a number of tillage parts up there, but it seemed a strange, hard to get to place to store things. In the main equipment shed there still stood a number of metal barrels with several containing oil or some other liquid. There was also a really nice long wooden shop table. I hope someone saves it. The stairs to the floor above had long since fallen, but I was able to stand on one of the barrels to glimpse into the overhead chicken coop. They had fully covered all the walls and ceiling with white plaster board, probably for warmth and cleanliness for the chickens. On one long wall steel lay boxes still hung waiting for the birds return.
As my historian friend and I walked the farm, we took pictures of the buildings before they disappeared forever. One thing we particularly liked were the louvered and carved window frames. The Huntley’s had paid a great deal of attention to their farm. You could tell the family had truly known what they were doing in the many years they lived there.
We left the farm and drove around the corner to see it from a greater distance. The fields still remained, fenced as they had always been. The trees around the house and barns still shared their beauty and shade. It was a view of what once was one of the most beautiful farms anywhere. …But, sadly, we could also see where the farms next door had already fallen to the crowded houses of encroaching suburban living. And we knew that soon this last piece of once productive land and life would be under cement.
Our final visit that day was to the Huntley Cemetery south of the farm. It’s a beautiful spot, with many very ornate cravings and headstones. I recognized many of the local farm family names, going back to those who fought in the American Revolution and War of 1812. Someone had put flags on many of the veterans graves for the just passed Memorial Day. A remembrance of the sacrifices the early settlers and founders of our nation had made. And, in some small way, a remembrance of the farms that once stood on such fertile ground.