Save the old yellow dairy barn


You’d think with all the prestige, endowments and funding UConn has garnered, especially by winning multiple NCAA sports titles, they’d have the wherewithal and means to preserve the old yellow dairy barn on Storrs Road (Route 195). Built in 1911, it sits on land granted by Charles and Augustus Storrs in 1881, originally the Storrs Agricultural College, later becoming the University of Connecticut. I worked and lived in that barn, in the old herdsman quarters, while attending the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture and I know its soul personally. 

For generations, the Holstein, Guernsey and Jersey cows housed in the barn formed the stage for audiences of families on weekends and throughout the summer. Newborn calves with wide deep eyes, lunging for a thumb to suckle between feeding times, set kids aflutter with laughs and UConn dairy bar ice cream cones dripping down their free hands. Inner-city school kids from Hartford, crossing the Connecticut River for the first time like Louis and Clark crossing the Missouri, heading on a field trip to an outpost called Storrs, crossing over the hill on Storrs Road; and there stood the grand yellow dairy barn, blending in with yellow school busses that also didn’t want to leave. Finally, the thousands of agriculture students that worked in that barn, studied in that barn and fitted cows for the UConn dairy show there — all I’m sure have fond memories that would seem a tad torn if the condition of the barn was known to all. 

Yes, times have certainly changed at UConn. When I was there, we borrowed and placed a Jersey cow in the women’s bathroom in one of the Tower’s dorms during homecoming. Our punishment was shoveling a large pile of manure on a weekend by hand (manure fork for non-farm folks) akin to Cool Hand Luke on loan in Connecticut; those were the days. That was that barn. I’m sure that hasn’t happened since. 

Finally, Connecticut will always be a dairy State to me just like my hometown Suffield will always be a farming town. Connecticut has forgotten its farming roots. That old yellow dairy barn is a shrine to whatever semblance is left. That barn is sacrosanct to us UConn Aggies. It’s a dire shame how they’ve let that historical barn get run down. Please save it. 

UConn President Dr. Radenka Maric should be contacted by fellow concerned citizens at to look into this matter. 

Author’s Note: Robert T. Molleur graduated from UConn-Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture in 1981.

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