University of Illinois Experimental Dairy Farm Historic District

1201 W. St. Mary's Rd., Urbana, Illinois



Between 1908 and 1912, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign erected three round barns for its department of dairy husbandry, now dairy science. The chief proponent of the development was Professor Wilbur J. Fraser, who administered the unit from within the University's Agricultural Experiment Station. Fraser was assisted by architects, Kell and Benard, and campus supervising architect, James M. White. Fraser, who helped found the American Dairy Science Association in 1906, endorsed the concept of round barns as a means of applying economical measures to the business of dairy farming. Structures round in plan provided more floor area to wall enclosure than rectangular ones. Moreover, there were economies in the feeding and milking processes. The barns had two floors, the lower floor for milking and the upper floor for stacking hay. Milking stalls were designed to accommodate the narrow shoulders and wide hips of the dairy cows. The stalls are placed in a radial manner to lessen the distances the herdsman would walk...The University of Illinois Round Barns were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS IL-1211)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 4, 1994
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Round Barn Craftsman
Areas of significance
Architecture; Agriculture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction; A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Research facility; Storage; Animal facility
Current functions
Research facility; Storage; Animal facility
Periods of significance
1925-1949; 1900-1924
Significant years
1908; 1910; 1912
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 5
Non-contributing buildings: 3