map of Minnesota
Select an area of the state to view sites
Barns: Alfred R. Voss Farmstead

Location: Watonwan Co. Hwy. 27, Rosendale Township, Watonwan County
Built: 1893-1920 (stock barn 1893-96)
Builder: Alfred R. Voss
Listed on NRHP: October 27, 1988

The Voss Farmstead is historically significant as the headquarters of one of the largest private farming operations in southern Minnesota, and as home to Alfred R. Voss, an individual who played an important role in the settlement of Watonwan County.

In the 1880s, Voss, an attorney and former U.S. Land Surveyor, began to purchase unbroken railroad land in southern Minnesota, eventually acquiring 80,000 acres. By promoting, subdividing and selling his holdings to newcomers from Illinois and other states, Voss helped attract hundreds of new families to Watonwan County.

Voss kept 13,000 acres for himself, using a corps of tenant farmers and resident managers to help develop improved strains of cattle and grain, and to cultivate his extensive holdings using the most modern methods and equipment.

Voss erected a series of farm buildings that were unique because of their size and unusual design. The most important of these was the Stock Barn. The 180-foot by 60-foot, gable-roofed stock barn was built with expensive hardwoods, including black walnut beams, Washington fir posts and Washington red cedar siding. The farmstead as a whole represents a significant complex of buildings designed to support farming on a scale far surpassing most southern Minnesota farms of that era.

 Minnesota Historical Society· 345 W. Kellogg Blvd.,
 St. Paul, MN 55102-1906·651-259-3000  Copyright ©  2007. Send questions/comments to

Click to go to larger photo of Alfred R. Voss Farmstead stock barn.
Click to go to larger photo of Alfred R. Voss Farmstead.
MNHS logo
Minnesota Historical Society MHS Home SHPO Home