A major farm complex, Buena Vista includes a brick house and a frame barn, the former a relatively conservative structure, the latter the most elaborate and ornate of any in the state.
The two-story, five-bay, gable-ended brick house employs Federal proportions in its single-pile plan but is decorated with Greek Revival trim more typical of its time. In comparison to close neighbors Fort Pleasant (
HD1) and Willow Wall (
HD3), Buena Vista is a very conservative architectural statement. At the turn of the twentieth century, the facade was embellished with a frame cross gable over the three
The mammoth barn, constructed of white oak and finished in German siding, was built over a fourteen-year period by George T. Leatherman. It consists of three adjoining, gable-ended structures (the central block is narrower than the flanking elements, one of which was added as an afterthought); eight ventilating cupolas; myriad gables; and twin silos that flank an auxiliary entry capped with a pyramidal roof. A family ledger records expenditures and the progress of construction. The builder's granddaughter recalled that after it was completed, “people would stop because they thought it was a large Catholic school or church. Sometimes a dozen people would stop in a day just to look at it.” Inasmuch as such barns are now an endangered architectural species, stopping by to take a look seems even more justified than it was when she set down her recollections a century ago.