Earlier this year, the Park City Planning Commission voted to modify the McPolin Farm’s conditional use permit, to allow tours and educational community events in the farm house and barn.
Park City Municipal bought the McPolin farmstead in 1990, as its first open space purchase, and in 2016, the property’s White Barn underwent some major structural upgrades. Now that the barn is safe to occupy, McPolin Farm Manager Minda Stockdale says it’s a great opportunity to explore Park City’s agricultural history.
“As we walk through the barn, it's a really fascinating look at the evolution of the dairy industry, which I think, with our mining and skiing history, is sometimes secondary," Stockdale said. "So it feels like it's sort of an untold story that we're excited to tell.”
The primary focus of the tour is on the architecture and operations of the farm. The tour takes participants through the different rooms in the barn, from the mechanized milking room to the hay loft. The tour points out the materials used in the original construction and in the City’s safety upgrade.
Steve Laurent from Friends of the Farm stepped into the White Barn for the first time last summer, and he’s still thrilled by the experience.
“You see it, you drive by it daily from both directions, or I do, anyway, and you don't think about it much," Laurent said. "It's just a pretty edifice on a pretty landscape. But there's a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears that went in and on the property, and we hope to get people to have a sense for what went on there and what it took and how hard it was and how interesting it is when you really start to break it down.”
Laurent will be one of the volunteers leading the tours this summer. He hopes the tours evolve over time, with different ones focusing on farming, architecture and the families’ history. Laurent says the tours are for everyone, and when the barn has been opened on occasion, kids have enjoyed running around the hay loft and imagining cows in the barn, while older folks come at it from a different lens.
“The older people who come through, especially the much older people that maybe have an attachment or a family history or some connection to farming or a barn," Laurent said, "people have gotten a little choked up when I've been showing the barn, thinking about their own grandparents or their own life back in Iowa, that kind of thing. I think anybody is going to enjoy it.”
This summer’s tours are scheduled for July 12, August 9 and September 13 at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tours last approximately one hour and are capped at 25 people per tour. Tickets are $5 per person and must be purchased online in advance at the PC MARC’s website.