The St. John's barn was originally built in 1890. It had a sturdy 3-foot thick base made of native stone. In 1894, it was destroyed by a cyclone. Later that year, the barn was rebuilt on the same base with a simple wooden structure that lasted until 1927 when a fire destroyed it once more. After the fire, tin sheeting replaced the wooden frame to prevent further fire damage in the future. The barn stayed that way until 1962, when a silo that was being moved to the ground slipped and slightly altered the structure, making it look as if only "one-half of it were under full sail" (Traskey, Pete. "Cat collapses cowshed." The Record, September 27, 1963, p. 4.).
Features of the barn included a parlor, where cows were milked until 1957; a loafing room, where cattle ate; a nursery, where calves were cared for and a maternity ward, where newborn calves were kept.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s when the construction of the Abbey Church occurred, the barn was also used by Brother Placid, OSB and Bronislaw Bak to create the stained glass windows that are currently in the Abbey.
The barn was razed in 1963.
- "Dairy Cows Face Slaughter In June," The Record, May 30, 1946, p.1
- Roloff, Fr. Ronald O.S.B. "Now it is in Building," Scriptorium, Spring 1946, p. 65-66.
- McDonald, James . "Reporter visits...milk factory." The Record, November 9, 1951, p. 4.
- Traskey, Pete. "Cat collapses cowshed." The Record, September 27, 1963, p. 4.
- "Non Recuso Laborem," Scriptorium, v.2 n.4, 1942, p.9.
Special thanks to Ariel Smelter '12 for drafting this text.