History Of The Neuner Farm
In 1991 Terry and Mary Neuner purchased a 400-acre farm in the Maries River Valley near Westphalia, Missouri. Tenants had farmed the land for many years. Indeed the majestic stone farmhouse had not been a residence for almost a century.
The farm has an illustrious history. Wealthy German emigrants, the Porths, built the stone house in the 1840’s. The farm fields had produced corn, milo, barley, and fresh pasture for grazing cattle herds. Westphalia's first brewery was located there.
But by the time the our family bought the property the house and farm were in sad shape. Pigs rooted at the foundation of the house. The massive front porch pillars were crumbling. Its large rooms had housed grain and even animals. Fences were in disrepair; roads were poor, the soil worn out.
In the years since 1991, Terry and Mary have renovated the house, adding modern complementary wings to the east and west sides, fixed fences, repaired outbuildings and roads, and worked to stop erosion. The crowning achievement of their efforts is the recent planting of vineyards and the remodeling of an imposing barn into a working winery.
Charles van Ravenswaay, noted scholar of the German influence in Missouri, wrote this about the farmhouse in his 1977 book The Arts and Architecture of German Settlements in Missouri: A Survey of a Vanishing Culture:
"The Porth-Even-Fechtel farmhouse near Westphalia, with dimensions of about 45 feet by 35 feet, was probably built in the 1840s...Is one of the great early farmhouses in the area whose construction required skilled joiners, carpenters, and masons."