When Watkins started his farm in 1839, he built a small two-room log cabin for his young family. In 1850, he began construction of a large brick home. It took four years to complete the two-and-a-half story Classic Revival home. The house has a parlor, the family reading room, a dining room, eight bedrooms, an inside winter kitchen and four food storage rooms in the basement, as well as an outside summer kitchen. The basement also houses the farm dairy where butter and cheese were produced.
The big house was a very busy place. Waltus and Mary Ann Watkins raised nine children and two foster children. His mother and one of his sisters lived with them, and seven or eight of the farm and mill hands boarded with the family. Visiting friends and relatives were a constant part of the household as well. The family routinely fed 20 people, up to 50 during planting and harvesting.