Aggie Barn History
This link will take you to the article published in the AgriLeader Ezine Spring 2010. This article was also a special insert
published in the Battalion fall 2010.
H O W D Y !
"Saving the barn" - The original
location of the Aggie Barn was just on the north end of the little Town of Reagan, Texas. A small dot along Highway
6 between College Station and Waco. The Town of Reagan once had several cotton gins, banks, and mercantile stores but
the town dried up when cotton was no longer a primary crop for the area.
Several years ago, work
started to transform Hwy 6 from a two-lane to a four-lane highway. This work included a by-pass around Reagan.
The alignment of the by-pass put the road right through the Aggie Barn. About a year before construction, Joe found
out about the proposed alignment and contacted the son of Mr. Thaggard Kirkpatrick regarding the plan for the barn.
The son did not have any plans to move the barn and Joe would be welcome to move it if he wanted it. He also stated
that he had been contacted about the barn being relocated to College Station or elsewhere on his property, but declined to
keep the barn on his property due to liability reasons. Joe and Tressa decided to move it to their property
rather than letting it be moved out of Reagan or possibly demolished.
As time passed and the start of construction drew near, Joe made
a deal to purchase the barn. One week before the barn was to be demolished, we had an area house mover haul the
center section of the barn down Hwy 6, approximately .3 miles
south to land owned by the Swinneas. This is the Aggie Barn's current location. The barn sat in
the middle of a vacant field and looked ugly for about a year. In 2006, our time was limited and hard to devote
to the reconstruction and renovation of the barn until early 2008. There is never a shortage of old rotten
lumber or missing boards that need replacing when working on a hundred year old structure that has been a feed storage
and a rat castle for many of the last 50 years.
For most of Joe's time at Texas A&M, and for all of his post college years, he has
always been able to describe the location of his hometown by the "Aggie Barn" on Hwy 6. He was from
the town with the "Aggie Barn". In addition to the desire to preserve a landmark of his heritage, the barn
is special to Joe because he helped Mr. Thaggard Kirkpatrick hang the first "Sarge" in the gable when he painted
the barn for the first time in the early 1980s. Before Joe starting helping Mr. Kirkpatrick with the Aggie Barn, Joe
had been the paperboy for Mr. Kirkpatrick and his wife, Mrs. Mary. Joe mowed their grass for several years as
a preteen. Mr. Kirkpatrick was an influence in Joe's decision to go to Texas A&M and he also administered a scholarship
to A&M that Joe was awarded from another former Reaganite, General Travis Hetherington.
The barn was "started" by Mr. Thaggard Kirkpatrick. Known as Mr. T.K. by everyone in Reagan, Mr.
Kirkpatrick was a Class of '24, 100% Aggie and his wife Mary was a graduate of Baylor. The center section of the barn
reportedly was once the First State Bank of Reagan and sat in "Downtown Reagan". The building was moved to
Mr. Kirkpatrick's property in the 1940s or 1950s and was converted to a barn with a livestock corral under one wing and equipment
storage under the other side.
The barn was originally painted red and it was not until 1980 that Mr. Kirkpatrick repainted
it with Aggie Maroon after a windstorm blew some tin off the roof of the barn. Mr. Kirkpatrick at that time decided
to repaint the barn as an expression of his love for Texas A&M. He had no idea of the landmark he was creating
when he first painted "Gig'em Aggies" on the north end of the barn. The addition of "Whoop"
and Class years were added in the 1990s by members of the Corp of Cadets.
Mr. T.K. Kirkpatrick passed away in 1999, just months before
his 100th birthday. Mr. Kirkpatrick was a successful businessman that did a lot for the Town of Reagan
and Falls County. Throughout Mr. Kirkpatrick's life, he had many accomplishments he was proud of, but I know the Aggie
Barn was something he took great pride in owning and showing off to the Aggies that traveled Highway 6.
For those that are curious, the inside of the barn is empty. Occasionally,
it is used for storing hay.
years, the barn was painted by Mr. Kirkpatrick, his family members, and Aggies. There have been several cases of emergency
repaints due to the work of "Baylor artists" just before or after the annual "Battle for the Brazos".
One particular repaint came early on a Saturday morning just before the A&M vs. Baylor game when it was
extremely obvious that the barn was green, yellow, and read "sic'em bears". The barn was corrected by 10:00am
on that Saturday, and most people going to Kyle Field never noticed anything out of the ordinary.
Mr. Kirkpatrick's favorite group photo was likely the one with Coach
Sherrill and the A&M Football Team on their way to SMU in 1980. Mr. Kirkpatrick was proud of that day and of the hat and
jersey that he was given as a memento of the occasion. Over the past few years, we have had several student groups and individuals
stop to take pictures at the barn. There are lots of bridal pictures, graduation announcements, and alumni that stop to take
pictures at the barn. I love to see these pictures and if they email their pictures, I get them posted on the website to share
the barn to its new home just south in Reagan, the painting and reconstruction has been done by the Swinnea family, friends,
and of course, Aggies. The class years displayed on the barn at this time represent two
of our children, Samantha Swinnea ('13) and Taylor Hood ('15). Our immediate family, which
includes Joe ('85) and Tressa Swinnea, our son, Jake ('11), and our three daughters Samantha
('13), Taylor Hood ('15), and Alex Hood (future '19), all of whom have spent many hours at the barn working on the reconstruction
and painting. Other caretakers include Joe's father, Bob Swinnea, and uncle Homer (Jr) Swinnea, Keith Bumm (a close
family friend), and numerous Aggie friends.
There is no charge for taking personal pictures at the barn. However, before entering the property please notify the Swinneas by email, phone, or text message.
Anyone that wants to take pictures from the Highway 6 right-of-way can do so at their own risk. Prior to entering the
property, we ask that people respect the "POSTED" signs and call or text Tressa (214)
395-6918 prior to entering the property. They may also send an email to email@example.com for permission or other questions.
As bad as we hate to limit use and access to the barn, we have found that not everyone
has respect for our property and the Aggie Barn. Besides vandalism, some people think the best time to drive around
the barn is just after a 3" rain. I hate the ruts left behind; but even more, I hate the thought of my father-in-law,
who just turned 88 years young in June 2012, catching someone in the act since he is the person that does the plowing
and planting around the barn.
people ask us what is Texas A&M's role in the barn. The answer is inspiration! Mr. Kirkpatrick painted
the barn initially to display his pride in the University. The Swinnea family has the same feelings and is proud
when we see the barn in a commercial for Texas A&M, in 12th Man Foundation promotions, or during a football
game at Kyle Field.
We know that there are many people that love the Aggie Barn and we are grateful we were able to
keep it standing.
In the future as you drive down Highway 6 going home to Aggieland hopefully you will see new trees, a windmill, and
lots of maroon clover & bluebonnets in the spring as we work to preserve a landmark. I feel that when you pass
the Aggie Barn, you know without a doubt, you are officially entering the start of AggieLand!
|Joe, Class '85, and Tressa Swinnea