History of the Land

Twin Oaks Barn is situated in the middle of 70 acres on Umstead Ranch. Umstead Ranch is a working beef cattle and hay farm (with a few extra critters sprinkled around, including pygmy goats and miniature horses). In the 1920’s, LW and Mildred Umstead began purchasing the land to farm tobacco. They purchased around 450 acres in all. They had tobacco barns built on the property and ponds for irrigation. LW decided to switch to beef cows and included his son, Willis, in the “cow business.” After LW passed away, Willis took over the business as a “gentleman” cattle farmer (meaning he kept his day job!). At one time, the land supported upwards of 300 herford, brahma and beef master cows. Hwy 70 bypass divided the land, and Willis and wife Barbara sold some of the land to individuals that wanted to enjoy JoCo’s rural feel. In the early 2000’s, Willis sold off the last of the cows and switched to focusing on his pastures and hay. He produced some of the best alfalfa hay around, as well as fescue.  Willis and Barbara’s daughters, Cathy and Beth, grew up riding horses, working cows, cutting pastures, and slinging hay.  At the end of a hard farm day, friends would gather at the barns under the shade of a huge oak tree for tall tales and a bit of Willis’ specialty drink, Tootie Pink.
 

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Twin Oaks Barn

In 2016, Willis and Barbara Umstead’s younger daughter Beth Umstead McLaughlin and her husband Jan Michael, took over farm management and added cows back to the property, as well as baling fescue hay.  Beth’s son Justin along with his wife Michelle joined in on the farming fun with their own cows and miniature horses. Jan’s daughter Justine even added a couple of cute pygmy goats.  However, the property couldn’t support the number of livestock it once did.

 

We are deeply attached to the land and its legacy. We began thinking about how to prepare it for the next generation, keeping it mostly undeveloped and in its natural, beautiful state. So, we started the dream of Twin Oaks Barn event space. We broke ground March 2020. Trees were cut off the property and milled on site right by the barn by a wonderful sawyer. The barn is constructed primarily from the rough sawn wood from the farm.  Family and friends were engaged in barn building with us, with Jan overseeing the building project and Beth providing moral support.