Wilson Barn

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Wilson Barn
Wilson Barn Livonia MI.jpg
Wilson Barn is located in Michigan
Wilson Barn
Wilson Barn is located in the United States
Wilson Barn
LocationNE corner of Middlebelt and W. Chicago Rds., Livonia, Michigan
Coordinates42°21′53″N 83°19′55″W / 42.36472°N 83.33194°W / 42.36472; -83.33194Coordinates: 42°21′53″N 83°19′55″W / 42.36472°N 83.33194°W / 42.36472; -83.33194
Area4.8 acres (1.9 ha)
ArchitectJohn H. Paterson
Architectural styleBank Barn
NRHP reference #73000962[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 12, 1973
Designated MSHSNovember 15, 1973[2]

The Wilson Barn (also known as the Ira Wilson Dairy Barn) is a barn located at the northeast corner of Middlebelt and W. Chicago Roads in Livonia, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1973.[1][2] This was the beginning of the Ira Wilson & Sons Dairy Company, a now defunct company (which partnered for a time with Kroger and was ultimately acquired by Melody Farms in 1980). There were several large iconic cow's head sculptures, which were fixtures in the Detroit metropolitan area.[3][4][5][6][7][8]


Farmyard with barn and house
Barn and silo aerial

Ira Wilson was born in 1867, and began his career in dairy farming at an early age, working on the farm owned by his family since 1847.[2] He built a barn on this site in 1888; in 1919 the barn burned and he built the present structure on the foundations of the earlier barn.[2] Wilson eventually established a million-dollar dairy, creamery, and trucking business, the Ira Wilson & Sons Dairy,[2][9] and served for two terms as Wayne County sheriff. Wilson died in 1944, and the lower level of the barn was converted for use as a horse stable in the same year.[2]

As of 2011, the Wilson Barn is managed by "The Friends of the Barn," a volunteer group.[10]


The barn is a post-and-beam structure faced with wood siding, resting on a stone foundation and having a gambrel roof.[2] A silo made of dark brown, glazed tile is attached to the barn.[2]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Wilson Barn from the state of Michigan, retrieved 1/5/10
  3. ^ "Milking It". Dairy Field Magazine. Michael George, Stagnito Publishing. April 2001. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "A Tale of Two Cow heads". Detroitkidshow.com. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  5. ^ "Wilson's Dairy" (Photograph). Library of Congress. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Runyan, Robin (May 20, 2016). "Own the Landmark Dairy Building from 8 Mile for $79K: 'This opportunity comes once in a lifetime'". Retrieved January 4, 2018. The cow head had its fifteen minutes of fame when it appeared in the 2002 Eminem film 8 Mile. The film's producers pried the plywood off the long abandoned ice cream store's windows and gave both the building and the cow a fresh coat of paint. In the film, violent jay and his posse drive in front of the building and shoot the giant cow between the eyes with a pink paintball. The owner of the building at the time didn't want his cow defaced, so the paintball splat was created with computer graphics.
  7. ^ "Obituary, Ira Wilson II". Desmond Funeral Home. February 9, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  8. ^ The dairy was located at 13041 Mack Avenue, Detorit, Michigan. "Ira Wilson Sons Dairy". Mapquest. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  9. ^ MacGregor, David (June 8, 2005). Livonia. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 68–69. ISBN 9781439615423.
  10. ^ "ABOUT FRIENDS OF THE BARN". Friends of the Barn. Retrieved July 5, 2011.

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