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The Texas Tech Dairy Barn has not been included in the current draft of the Texas Tech University Masterplan. In 1991, the Texas Tech student body mobilized a fund-raising effort to save the Barn and succeeded in financing the stabilization of the structure. A listing in the National Register of Historic Places soon followed, and everyone seemed to think that the Dairy Barn had been preserved for posterity.

Six years later, the Dairy Barn has somehow mysteriously vanished from the landscaping and architectural plans now under consideration for the future of Texas Tech University.

The Dairy Barn is worth preserving in the very spot it has inhabited since the opening day of classes at Texas Technological College in September of 1925. Indeed, at that point in time, the Dairy Barn was so important to the educational curriculum of the new School of Agriculture it was built before classrooms.

W.L. “Runt” Stangel, Texas Tech’s first instructor in animal husbandry, worked directly with original campus architect Wyatt Hedrick of Fort Worth’s Sanguinet, Staats & Hendrick in designing and constructing a thoroughly modern barn to support a model dairy planned for the new college.

The Barn’s structural integrity and most of its distinctive architectural details have remained intact. With its conical-roofed silo, masonry walls, stuccoed exterior, gambrel-roofed two-story wing, gabeled-roof first-story wing, exposed rafters, and decorative brackets, the Texas Tech Dairy Barn is quintessentially contemporaneous bungalow style architecture – worthy of note in the National Register of Historic Places.

What the Dairy Barn represents educationally is perhaps even more significant. The structure stands as a dramatic symbol of rural resourcefulness and educational innovation.

Spare rooms in the Barn were used as housing for students who were able to bring and care for up to three dairy cows. For a year, the Student Dairy Association sold milk retail, ten in 1928 sold directly to the new Department of Dairy Manufactures, a department that had a significant impact on the economy of West Texas.

Through the vision and expertise of Dean Arthur Leidigh, W. L. Stangel, and Kenneth M. Renner, Texas Tech served as the driving force behind a thriving diary industry throughout the region. Donald Green notes: “By 1930, Lubbock produced one-fourth of all the butter manufactured in Texas and had 45 wholesale and retail dairies… There were 291 ‘cream buying stations’ in the South Plains area.”  

Thanks to urbanization and the miracle of refrigeration, ice cream was all the rage. In 1934 three-fourths of requests for Ag graduates were for ‘ice cream makers.’ Renner was in the vanguard of ice cream testing and evaluation, milk inspection, and in creating a uniform cream grading standard for the State of Texas.

Alas, the complications of managing student services brought an end to work study in the Dairy Barn in 1935, and by 1975 Agriculture offered only one course in Dairy Products, but the agricultural mandate that created Texas Tech and the progressive, dedicated ag faculty that nurtured a rigorous educational curriculum at the new college are memorialized through the continued existence of the Texas Tech Dairy Barn.  

Let’s make the Texas Tech Dairy Barn a dynamic part of our thriving contemporary University. Meld the old with the new and celebrate our flowering from deep rural roots into an expansive, high tech, multidisciplinary institution of higher learning. Make the Dairy Barn a fabulous restaurant! And for dessert, serve double-crust fruit pies, topped with rich, homemade ice cream – in worthy tribute to our progressive past, to those bygone days when the Student Dairy Association sold cream so thick you had to thin it to whip it.

~ Texas Tech Dairy Barn in Jeopardy!,” LHS newsletter, Insite, Spring 1997

The Latest on the Texas Tech Dairy Barn

The Daily Toreador, the campus newspaper for Texas Tech University, ran an article titled "Students make plans to redesign Dairy Barn" on November 30, 2011. 

The student design below includes examples of suggested hardscapes and plantings around the Dairy Barn should it be restored.

More information on this historical structure can be found the Texas Tech University Archives' blog site.

A new roof was placed on the barn in 2012.

The Dairy Barn was one of seven original structures standing when Texas Technological College opened in 1925. The structure still stands today and is in dire need of restoration and preservation.

Sketch of the barn showing the columnar silo.

In recognition of National Dairy Month, Texas Tech revisited the university’s iconic landmark at the height of its operation in this video presentation. Posted June 25, 2013.


W. D. Benson House
A. B. Davis House
Mast-White House
St. Paul's-on-the-Plains Church
Texas Tech Dairy Barn

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Lubbock Heritage Society, P. O. Box 5443, Lubbock, Texas 79408 (806) 392.4949, LubbockHeritageSociety@gmail.com