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John B. Wennerberg Barn listed in the National Register of Historic Places

August 9, 2018

The John B. Wennerberg Barn in Carlton is among Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places.

Located slightly to the south of downtown Carlton, the John B. Wennerberg Barn is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as locally significant under Criterion A in the area of Agriculture, for its associations with late 19th and early 20th century commercial agricultural practices in Yamhill County, Oregon.

Built by John Wennerberg c. 1895, the Wennerberg Barn was first used a part of his commercial farm. This period of use ends with the sale of the Wennerberg Barn and the surrounding property to Adelbert Brooks’ Carlton Nursery Company in 1919. Though alterations to the barn over time have obscured evidence of Wennerberg’s use of the barn as part of his commercial farming operation, the barn’s architecture and Wennerberg’s letters to his brother Daniel suggest a traditional agricultural use. The three-aisled, end-opening barn’s design, as well as the remnant notches in the crossbeams and posts of the ground-level aisles convey the Barn’s use for housing livestock and storing grain.

The voluminous second-level hayloft was clearly designed for storing hay, and the existence of a high central beam suggests the use of a mechanical hayfork during Wennerberg’s period of ownership. In addition to this remaining physical evidence, letters sent from Wennerberg to his younger brother Daniel detail the older Wennerberg brother’s farming operations in Carlton. The letters suggest that John Wennerberg farmed hay for sale in addition to growing grains such as wheat, barley and oats, and raising hogs and sheep.

The second farming operation to use the Wennerberg Barn was the Carlton Nursery Company (1919-1936). The Company used the building as a warehouse and distribution center for its horticultural products while they operated in northern Yamhill County. This second period of use begins with Brooks’ purchase of the property and ends when the Company moved its growing and shipping operations to Forest Grove, Washington County, OR in 1936.

Following Wennerberg’s death in 1918, the property was purchased by Adelbert D. Brooks, who along with his brother Frank, owned and operated the Carlton Nursery Company. In 1919, the Carlton Nursery moved its packing and shipping operations from a nearby warehouse on Pine Street to the Wennerberg Barn. The barn was used until 1936 as the Carlton Nursery’s packing and distribution center for the stock grown on the Company’s primary nursery to the east of Carlton near Lafayette. These years were significant to the Carlton Nursery Company as it grew from a state and regional distributor of a variety of agricultural and horticultural products to a company that sold its products to markets nationwide.

Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the district’s nomination during their February 16, 2018 meeting. The John B. Wennerberg Barn is now one of three listings in the National Register in Carlton. The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

More information about the National Register and recent Oregon lists is online at oregonheritage.org (click on “National Register” at left of page).