The Breeding Barn

  • The Breeding Barn was completed in 1891 as the cornerstone for Dr. Webb's horse-breeding operation.
  • Its interior hall was the largest open-span wooden structure in America for a time, but the horse-breeding venture itself faltered.
  • The Webbs deeded the building to their eldest son in 1913, and he used it for the Shelburne Hunt until the 1950s.
  • Now owned by the nonprofit, the Breeding Barn today hosts occasional community and agricultural events, as it undergoes stabilization work.

The magnificent Breeding Barn is being structurally stabilized to become a future three-season gathering hall for educational, agricultural and community uses.

It was built from 1889 to 1891 to showcase W. Seward Webb's grand horse breeding operation. With an interior exercise ring 375 feet long, it was the largest open-span wooden structure in America until 1939. 

Seward's dream was to breed an ideal Hackney horse for Vermont farmers, but by 1904 the enterprise had largely failed. In 1913, Seward and Lila Webb deeded land that included the Breeding Barn and Old Dairy Barn to their eldest son. The Breeding Barn was then used sporadically for fox hunts, polo, hay storage and to shelter cattle.

In 1994, Shelburne Farms reacquired the two magnificent barns and 400 surrounding acres. Work then began to save the Breeding Barn, reinforcing its structure and replacing its roof.