By Cathy Callopy
Many of the grain crops and, later, tobacco for Dinsmore Homestead were raised on the other side of Burlington Pike. The road itself did not exist until after the death of James Dinsmore. It is not known for sure when the tobacco barn was constructed because we do not know when the family began raising the crop that became so closely associated with rural life in Kentucky. What is certain is that soon after Julia Dinsmore began managing the farm in 1873, the tenants were raising that crop in addition to wheat, corn, and oats. Down the hill from the barn was the basket shop where German immigrant tenants produced hundreds of clothes and market baskets each year. James Dinsmore had been raising osier willows since moving to Kentucky. Initially, he sold the willows in Cincinnati and they were made into baskets there, but by the early 1850s he had several men move onto his farm as tenants and they produced the baskets that Dinsmore sold from Pittsburgh down to St. Louis. Julia Dinsmore ended the business when she took over management, so the basket-makers moved to Petersburg and Belleview Bottoms and continued to make baskets there. Boone County roads named after some of these immigrants are a reminder of their continued presence here: Maurer and Deck Lanes. The basket shop was later used as a school and occasionally as a tenant house.
At the edge of the grass line was a large sheep barn. The stone foundation of this barn is still visible if you are near it. James Dinsmore’s move to Boone County was partially motivated by the idea of raising cashmere sheep and angora goats and he had over one hundred and fifty of them according to the 1850 Census. The sheep barn also served as a shelter for the cattle on the farm, of which there were about ten. This building was torn down in the 1950s when the farm ceased raising crops.