Henrico County Historical Society
PO Box 90775   Henrico, VA 23273   (804)501-5682   hchsinfo@yahoo.com

Henrico County Historical Society's motto, which is Preserving the Past in the Present for the FutureSkipwith Academy in Three Chopt District, Henrico County, Virginia.Log Cabin in Tuckahoe District, Henrico County, Virginia.Mankin Mansion in Fairfield District, Henrico County, Virginia.Dorey Barn in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.Bethlehem Church in Brookland District, Henrico County, Virginia.


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Varina District Historic Sites - Dorey Barn

Vintage photo of Dorey Barn in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.

Dairy farming became the new agricultural industry in Henrico County during the period following the Civil War. As early as 1880, there were 2181 milk cows in the county. By the early 20th century agriculturists boasted Henrico as the Dairy County of Virginia.

In the early 1900's, Francis Frederick Dorey and Sarah Ellen Rose Dorey moved with their eight children from Barron County, Wisconsin to Henrico County, Virginia. Considered one of the most progressive farmers in Barron County, Francis Dorey transported all of his dairy cattle to his property in Varina in search of a milder climate.

Henrico County proclaimed in 1919 that nearly everyone had some registered cattle and all farms were sanitary and had up-to-date barnes. The number of dairy cattle continued to rise with over 5,000 head of dairy cattle documented in 1929, the height of milk production in the county.

Fred Orwin Dorey, youngest son of Francis and Ellen, married Belle Ferguson in 1923. Together they raised six children on the Dorey Homestead site in Varina. The 400-acre property consisted of a farmhouse, dairy barn, bunkhouse, tenant farmer house, chicken house, springhouse, silos and a small barn.

Silo of Dorey Barn, today, in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.

It is said that one of the Dorey children fell to her death in this silo.

Although dairy operations like Dorey and Curles Neck survived into the 1960's by 1950 there were less than 3,000 milk cows in the entire county. Fred continued the dairy operation begun by his father in the late 19th century through 1966.

Fred Orwin Dorey died in 1973. His widow Belle Ferguson Dorey, sold the property to Henrico County in 1979 and it was opened as a park in 1984.

Dorey Barn and its silo, today, in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks renovated the dairy barn and opened it to the public in 1992 as the Dorey Recreation Center.

  • Privately owned.
  • (Henrico County, Dorey Park)


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Varina Sites: Dorey Barn
Cedar Hill and Armour House | Curles Neck | Dabbs House | Gravel Hill |
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