Timeless Craftsmanship Captured in Every Piece

The History of the W.H. Simms Barn

As a hyper-realistic wood carver, there really couldn’t be a more perfect environment in which to create custom-carved pieces for Commissioned Customers and various art galleries around the country.

The W.H. Simms Barn is a 100 year old wooden barn; a historic building with a truly unique and inspiring backstory. We’re slowly breathing life back into her beautiful bones, while being careful to restore the original charm. It’s a very special place that deserves to be honored. And we do.

Our property dates back to the Republic of Texas, where 3,129 acres were granted as a “land Patent” to William Davis as recognition for his participation in the battle for Texas’ independence in 1841. Brothers James and William Rhea, local mill owners, purchased part of this land (Block 49) in 1894 and subdivided it into four lots, known as the ‘W.A. Rhea Addition’. Our property at 516 W. Hunt St occupies Lot 3 of this subdivision.

In 1894 W.H. Simms purchased Lot 3 for $800. He was working as a Wells-Fargo Express Agent and City Treasurer when he built a wood frame house and a barn on this property around 1900. Then, in 1906, Simms sold the property to William Ticknor who worked as a pump engineer and joined a new company called The Texas Company, which later became Texaco.

In 1909, Ticknor was relocated and sold the home to George Wilson for $3,000. Wilson was a stockman, farmer and gin operator, a member of one of Collin County’s most influential pioneer families.

Then, in 1913, P.R. Westmoreland purchased the home for $2,500 cash and a $1,500 note. Westmoreland was a groceryman. He and his wife Emma lived in the home alone until 1925 when they razed it to build a new two-story brick home in its place. This is the house that stands today. It’s believed that Westmoreland used the Barn to store his horses and grocery supplies, as he came to own two grocery stores on the McKinney Square. It’s also believed that one of his stores is where Mellow Mushroom is located today. The Westmorelands lived in the house into the 1960s, where they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

The Barn is the epicenter of my swirling creative forces. Its spirit and natural energy are so palpable that it’s impossible not to get swept up the moment I open those double doors.

I am home. I am untethered. I create.  


Open Barn Experience & Art Tours

~ Join Us for Our Next Barn Spring Opening ~

Due to the COVID-19 Virus - Dates are TBD

Please Check Back Often


Make this a must-see destination during the

The Second Saturday on the Square!

Our “Barn Experience” Tours are extremely popular. People come from all over to enjoy the barn, hear about its historic roots, see some of my work-in-progress, my gallery of finished pieces, the cool tools I get to use, and simply to feel the uniquely vibrant setting.


These tours are offered in the spring and fall. Bring your friends…bring your family…come alone.

It’s a fun, informative and inspiring event!


And who knows? Maybe Edith the donkey will amble on by. (Talk about a must-see!)

If you’d like to be kept informed of our Tours, Artist Collaboration events and other exciting

Barn news, join our mailing list. (see below)

Have a custom request? Send me an email.

If you have a photo of what you’d like custom-carved, please attach it.


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Timeless Craftsmanship Captured in Every Piece
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516 W Hunt Street * McKinney, TX 75069




Copyright© 2020 Bob Bruu Wood Carver. All Rights Reserved.