The Fun Barn at the farm has a long and lively history. When the Fulks family moved to Belvedere Plantation in 1972, one of the annual summer jobs that Farmer Donnie participated in was baling hay … enough to fill up the barn! And ‘hay’ — that’s a lot! It took thousands of bales, which was hot and dusty work for young boys! Beef cattle were raised at the farm, and hay was their primary feed during the winter months. Eventually, cattle were sold and crops were grown in the hay fields.
The old hay barn became the Fun Barn, complete with smiley face, at the time of the farm’s first Great Pumpkin Patch! And it’s been fun ever since! The old rope swing allow visitors a taste of yesteryear — grab on and swing out into the straw, and you’ll be grinning just like our Fun Barn does!
Enjoy these notes about Belvedere Plantation and the Fun Barn
from former families who have lived here
or from former farm managers.
From Charles S. Berger / Pacific Palisades, California
Charles and a twin brother were born in the plantation home in 1918. His father, Samuel, was son of Alexander Berger.
Alexander Berger, President of the La Cienga Land and Cattle Company of Arizona, purchased Belvidera in 1909. The company had purchased it in June 1908 from the Taylor family who had owned the plantation since 1842. There were 1,675 acres — including land in Caroline County, part of Fox Springs Farm.
The farm later passed to Helen Berger Bryan. After her death in 1966, McKendree G. Fulks purchased Belvedere Plantation from her estate in March 1968.
From Charles Hooper, Jr. in 1981 / Manager of Rappahannock Electric Co-Op
Charles Hooper, Sr. was farm manager for Mr. Alexander Berger and lived in the big house from 1908-1919. He was given $10,000 a year to build and improve the farm. The barn (now the Fun Barn) and silo were built between 1912-1915. According to Mr. Hooper, the crack in the silo was caused by a flywheel that came off a stationary engine running a silo filter. Mr. Hooper, Sr. lost a hand in an accident filling the silo.
An artisan well about 198-feet deep was dug from the bank below the big barn about 1914 and was still in use when the Fulks family purchased the farm. It flowed into a large concrete pit and pumped to the barn and houses by the river. After the flood of 1972, it kept silting in and a new well had to be drilled to service the buildings.
Mr. Hooper constructed the corn house, the hay barn, and tenant houses.