I thought I had seen most of the roadside attractions in the area. I was wrong! Goat Tower Farms had somehow escaped my radar!
What is it?
Goat Tower Farms is the dream of David Johnson. After spying the tower in Decanter, a wine magazine, of the Fairview Winery’s tower in South Africa, he had to build one of his own! In 1998, he did just that. In fact, it is the largest goat tower in the world!
David’s wife Marcia found out about it after David had the plans ready to roll. “I got to pick out where it was placed,” she added. The tower is outside her kitchen window
The tower looks like it is part of a medieval castle with spiral steps and a coned copper roof! Comprised of 5,000 handmade bricks transported from North Carolina, the tower has a 7′ diameter. With 276 concrete steps to the top, the climb is a dizzy one.
There are six compartments for the goats. Three on one side and three on the other.
David Johnson designed the tower with the help of bricklayer the late jack Cloe of Herrick, Illinois. It took them three months to complete the job.
The tower was finished before the goats arrived. “The goats came in the mid-1990’s,” Marcia said.
The goats are Saanen goats. These are Swiss mountain milk goats that like to climb. They live in the tower. Today they have 7 of them although they have had up to 30 some! At one time they milked the goats and made cheese, but that took a whole lot of effort so they have cut back a bit.
Bella is the only goat onsite with horns because the other goats are all registered and registered Saanen goats don’t have horns. She is very friendly and the “Queen” of the tower.
Besides the goat tower, the farm is a certified wildlife habitat. Set on 92 acres with six ponds, the area teems with wildlife and bird life. The Johnsons have created an eco-paradise and tourists are welcome by appointment. They will welcome visitors in mid-June.
They have had visitors from around the world. Text 217-454-2337 for a visit. Watch for a detailed article in an upcoming issue of Farm World!
If you enjoy reading about towers, check out my article about the Citrus Tower!