Old Barns

The Gustave Kunze barn, now owned by the Chuck Petterson family, is still part of a working dairy in Buhl.

Built: 1912

Location: 1705 E. 4000 N. (at southeast corner of intersection), Buhl

Size: 120 feet long, 70 feet wide, 45 feet tall

Its past: Gustave Kunze, a dairyman and cheese maker from Tillamook, Ore., owned the first barn in the Buhl area built specifically as a dairy by master barn builder Henry Schick. Other barns were multipurpose structures meant to house livestock and to store feed and farm equipment.

Kunze visited the newly irrigated tract in 1910 and liked the idea that alfalfa could be grown in great quantities in southern Idaho. Alfalfa had to be shipped to dairies in Tillamook.

He bought a section of uncleared land, and, in the next two years, built a 100-cow dairy, cheese factory and home. Kunze’s dairy barn was the largest in Idaho and held 200 tons of hay in the loft. His Clover Leaf Cheese Factory took in milk from surrounding dairies, and his cheese won a medal at the Panama/Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

Its status: Formerly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but inadvertently removed in 1994. The Idaho State Historic Preservation Office is trying to correct the error to have the barn relisted.

Kunze retired and in 1918 sold the property to Ted Sandmeyer, who owned it for many years. Still known as the old Sandmeyer place, the property is now owned by 90-year-old Chuck Petterson. His son, Brent Petterson, runs the dairy, which still includes the original barn.

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