Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Mover David Valgardson prepares the historic Day dairy barn to be relocated a short distance in Draper on Sunday.

DRAPER — As four of the 10 children of Harmon Eastman Day look over the former Draper farmland once known as Day Dairy, they begin reminiscing about the place they called home.

The manger was up north, a milking house to the east and a corral under their feet. They laugh about the time the mean bull escaped, or when their little brother fell into the stream, spooking the ducks.

"We used to sit and watch the sheep come down that road," says Rachel Patience, pointing to 12300 South. "There'd be a car about every hour. Seems impossible, doesn't it?"

On Draper's main thoroughfare filled with shopping centers and restaurants, it's hard to believe anything traveled over it other than cars. But on Sunday morning, the old, white Day barn rolled off its 90-year-old foundation and down 12300 South to preserve that farming history at a city park off Pioneer Road.

While descendants wiped away tears and locals snapped pictures, Katie Shell walked alongside the dairy barn for its entire 1-mile ride.

"I think people in general are tired of seeing our heritage torn down. Draper's a great town with a lot of shiny, new things. But we have few pieces of history left," Shell said. "Draper was all about agriculture — that's what kept the family fed."

The history-lover, whose $900 check helped save the barn from turning into scrap metal, has worked for two years to raise enough money to save the 1920's dairy from being razed by developers.

When the dairy farm moved to Payson four years ago, the property was sold and the buildings auctioned off.

Sunday's literal barn raising was an $18,000 ride for the barn conducted by Valgardson House Movers. The plan is for the barn to act as an education center with dairy farm displays but also as a community-gathering place for family reunions, art exhibits, barn dances, farmers markets and other local events.

Residents have chipped in $20,000 in an extensive "Save the Barn" campaign (all without city money); that number leaps to $46,000 with in-kind donations from places like Wadsworth Construction (the Wadsworth siblings who run the company grew up in Draper, about a block from the barn's final resting place).

Shell — along with Rob Perry, the Draper Historic Preservation Commission chairman, and Todd Shoemaker, the former chairman — own the barn and have donated it to the city.

2 comments on this story

"The architecture of that barn, there's nothing really remarkable about it," said Perry. "But the story of the Day family? They built it up in the Depression as the best Holstein herd in the state. That's remarkable."

The Day barn is in good company. It's down the road from the historic Park School, IFA plan, and next door to the Fitzgerald log cabin (the latter having been moved in similar fashion twice).

"People need to learn about the pioneerism of this country. They tilled the ground and grew the crops to keep alive," said LaRayne Day, wife of Jack Day, who inherited the barn with his brother Henry.

For more information about the barn, visit