The O.C. Barber Piggery
This is the O.C. Barber Piggery as seen from Robinson Ave. This lavish barn, nicknamed the "Pork Palace" was the last major barn completed on the Anna Dean Farm.
This is the western side of the Piggery, or Calf Barn as it was known after 1917.
Backstory and Context
This long majestic was the first building you would see after you crossed the Robinson bridge and headed up Robinson Avenue toward the Anna Dean Farm. At 300 feet long, with its patriotic red, white and blue color scheme, this was, for many, one of the most pleasant looking of the Anna Dean Farm barns. Upstairs in section three lived the Piggery barn boss and his family in a nice set of rooms that that looked down on the herd in the two wings of the barn. Like all barns on the Anna Dean Farm the Piggery was always kept clean and fresh. The two-story building is comprised of three evenly-spaced sty sections connected by long, recessed passageways. There are 48 doors on the ground floor ldeading to the individual sties. There are three large sets of doors for hay loading on the north and south ends and on the east side of the center section.
The Piggery was built in 1912 at a cost exceeding $50,000. Adjusting for inflation from 1912 to the present, this would be like spending over $750,000 in terms of present day dollars. The Piggery was used initially to house the Berkshire swine on the Anna Dean Farm until 1915. In 1915 a case of cholera was detected in the herd of swine and the entire herd had to be destroyed. After this occurred the Piggery was completely scrubbed down with bleach and sheep were moved into the structure. The swine herd was replenished, but they were moved to simple wooden "A" frame structures behind the Robinson Avenue Green houses. The sheep would occupy the Piggery only from 1915 to 1917. O.C. Barber did not like the fact that the sheep pulled the grass out by its roots, thus killing it, when they grazed. This was the same problem that caused friction between cattle ranchers and sheep herders in the Old West. Sheep can destroy the grass lands that they graze on leaving only a dusty area, where the grass once grew. Cattle and other grazing animals only nibble at the top of the grass, thus leaving it alive.
Tiring of seeing the Piggery sit in the middle of a growing desert, and having to take the sheep further and further from the Piggery to graze, 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. All of the grass surrounding the Piggery had to be replanted after the sheep were sold off.
The Piggery was not only a part of the Anna Dean Farm. In 1921, a group of World War I veterans organized Troop F of the 107th U.S. Cavalry and headquarters at the piggery. They sponsored many horse shows. The troop remained at the Piggery until it was deactivated in 1939.
After Barber died in 1920, his farm was divided into sections. The creamery and the No. 1 Barn were sold to Paul Remer in 1944. In 1952, No. 3 Barn burned. In 1967, No. 2 Barn also burned. The two fires were determined to be arson. It was used by the United Insulation Company as a warehouse and office building. In 1965, Barber's mansion was razed. From Barber's death until 1974, 27 of the original farm buildings burned down or were demolished. The piggery has been preserved.
http://www.annadeanfarm.com/farmbuildings/piggery.htm. Barberton Historical Society.
O.C. Barber Piggery, Akron Library. Accessed July 28th 2020. https://www.akronlibrary.org/images/Divisions/SpecCol/images/73001540.pdf.