This old red barn has sat at Christmas Hill Park since long before there was a park. The Miller and Lux Cattle Company built it in 1891. The Barns original purpose was to store hay for the cattle that would by driven through the area to fatten up on their way to the slaughterhouse in San Francisco. When the railroad was built and the cattle no longer needed to stop in Gilroy, the barn was used to process the walnuts and stone fruit that were planted on the surrounding acreage. In later years, wine grapes replaced the trees and Las Animas Winery leased the barn. A connection to the California Wine Association was forged during this time, which gives added historical importance to the land. In 1941, the ranch was sold to the Filice family to raise wine grapes for the San Martin Winery.
As you walk around the barn and look at its structure, you get the sense that this was a building that was meant to work hard. It is built completely of rough sawn redwood hauled from near by Mt. Madonna to be milled at the Whitehurst Lumber Company and then brought down from Hecker Pass. The Barn has been deemed above the 100 year flood plain. With the exception of the need for a new roof and some cosmetic work, the barn is as sound as the day that it was built.
In 1991, the City of Gilroy determined that the barn had no historical significance and should be torn down to make room for more soccer fields. When a group of local people heard of the planned demolition in 2015 they united and formed what is know known as The Miller Red Barn Association. Through the dedication and hard work of the association, the Barn is registered on the State and National lists of Historical Landmarks.
What is in the future for the Barn? That is a good question! The Miller Red Barn Association foresees that the Barn will honor all of the ethnic groups that have contributed to the agriculture of the area.
Having an agriculturally themed community center in our city will benefit present and future generations of families, visitors, school groups and local organizations by preserving a historically significant building and providing a unique community gathering place. It will be available as an event center for the local 4H and FFA groups and as a cultural center for the community. Additional uses might include craft fairs, concerts, and fundraising events to support other community projects as well as ongoing maintenance of this historic treasure.
What is your part in this project? Even though the barn is structurally sound, it still needs to be brought up to code so that its new job can be fulfilled. The Barn needs a new foundation and flooring, to be electrified, painted to preserved the wood, siding and doors repaired and landscaped to provide easy access to everyone. To help with this project you can volunteer your time and talents to The Miller Red Barn Association, support the fundraising events that the Association holds and donate to the restoration fund.
We want to Thank Rick Marrazo for this video