The Hay Drying Shed

The Hay Drying Shed (HM2LFH)

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N 39° 7.101', W 77° 10.457'

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Rockville's King Farm Farmstead Park

William Lawson King and his family moved here in 1925. For over 60 years this property was part of their dairy operation, which was the largest in the county with 450 registered Holstein cows. At this farm, over 100 cows were milked twice daily, 365 days a year. The remaining farm buildings help us understand this 20th century industry in and around the City of Rockville.

How it works

The Hay Drying Shed is a simple pole barn. The gas furnace that was key to its operation is enclosed at the far end. Hay drying is a step in hay production, an important winter source of protein for the dairy cows. Fresh hay was loaded onto wagons in the fields and brought here. Channels in the floor guided the wagon wheels to their position under a ceiling hatch. Each hatch was outfitted with a canvas cover that dropped from the ceiling over the load of hay.

Ten wagons could be processed at a time. When the gas-fired furnace was turned on, a powerful blower sent hot air into the attic, through the ceiling hatches to the canvas covers over the hay-laden wagons. Drying time varied with the Hay Heated Air Hay condition of the hay.

Hay fires!

The machinery was used to reduce the drying time for the fresh hay and could compensate for surprise rains during the harvest. But it was most important

to help avoid hay fires that were common within six weeks of storage if there was excessive moisture in the hay.

Too much moisture supports bacteria growth that can generate heat and start a fire. Many historic barns have been lost because of hay fires. Farmers try to assure a low moisture content (25%) before the hay is stored for the winter. At the King Farm, hay was stored in many different buildings, including the lofts over the two large dairy barns.

City of Rockville
Of Recreation & Parks
Historic District Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 at 11:03am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 312029 N 4332160
Decimal Degrees39.11835000, -77.17428333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 7.101', W 77° 10.457'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 7' 6.06" N, 77° 10' 27.42" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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