The Barns of Columbia

Before Columbia was built, the land was mainly an agricultural, rural area. Thus, most of the historic buildings were farmhouses and barns. Jim Rouse realized the value of these buildings and saved several of them from demolition. Rouse incorporated them into the plan for Columbia, and I’m so glad he did as they add a historical flavor to the city.

I’ve already detailed Historic Oakland Manor, but there are several barns I want to highlight as well.

The first barn I discovered in Columbia is the barn on Wilde Lake. The barn is known by two names. It’s called the Wilde Lake Barn as well as the Oakland Manor Barn. I had to do a little digging to find out about the barn, but it is no ordinary barn. It, along with Oakland Manor, was built by farmer Francis Morris. He is credited with building the first in the nation underground, trenched silos in 1876. The silos are long gone, but Oakland Manor and the Wilde Lake Barn still remain. This barn was dedicated in 1977 by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers as a historic landmark of agricultural engineering. You can learn more about this historic barn here.

There are two other barns in Columbia and part of Columbia Association (CA) as well. They are aptly named The Barn and The Other Barn. They sit side by side at the Oakland Mills Village Center. These pair of barns used to be part of the Owens Dorsey Dairy Farm. The Barn and The Other Barn became part of Columbia Association and the Oakland Mills Community Association (OMCA) in 1969.

The Other Barn, besides being the home to the OMCA,  also has recently refurbished rentable space available to the community.


The Barn houses CA’s Youth and Teen Center  (YTC)  for children 9 to 18 years old. And besides being open to children and young adults for games and events, they also provide space for a 4-H club and private parties.

Between the two barns is a lovely fenced in courtyard for use with the barns for events.

Finding these little historic treasures has been a fun part of getting to know CA. Today, so many newer communities look all the same. They all have the same fast food restaurants, the same big box stores, the same sprawling neighborhoods, but Columbia has something special. It has some links to its past.
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Melissa Sinclair works in the Communications & Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA). Melissa recently moved to Columbia with her three-generation family. She has lived in more than a dozen cities and is looking forward to making Columbia, Md., her permanent home! Click here to read more of Melissa’s Getting to Know CA series.

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1 Comment

Filed under Getting to Know CA

One response to “The Barns of Columbia

  1. Mark Scott

    I really enjoyed this piece! Great job Melissa.

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