What can you see on the 2009 Iowa Barn Tour this spring? There are 14 historic and out-of-the-ordinary barns that will be featured. This year's tour will be held in northwest Iowa on Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. These 14 magnificent structures include:
A historic round barn with a remarkable foundation of local red granite;
A one-of-a-kind wooden round barn;
A barn that housed renowned Percherons including celebrated Calypso;
A barn with a prominent widow's walk on the roof;
Two huge and historic Mennonite barns.
The self-guided tour, which will include barns from Lyon to Kossuth counties, is free and opened to the public. Carrie Jones, Iowa Barn Foundation board member from Ocheyedan, is chairman of the tour.
A picnic will be held on Sunday, June 14, at noon at the Hennings' barn, 6823 340th Street, south of Hartley. Checks for $6.00 for the picnic must be made out to the Iowa Barn Foundation and sent to Roxanne Mehlisch, 17590 730th Avenue, Zearing, 50278. Checks must be received by June 1.
The Iowa Barn Foundation, founded in 1997 is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging the preservation of Iowa's rural heritage by raising money to give matching grants to property owners to restore their barns. The tour encourages awareness, appreciation and preservation of Iowa's barns. A semi-annual magazine is published by the Iowa Barn Foundation. For more information about the tour, go to www.iowabarnfoundation.org.
Spies barns: Doug Spies grew up in the Anthon area, moved away, and returned to restore two fragile and historic barns in the pastoral area on the Little Sioux River. It took Perry Miller over a year to build the barn at 2520 Morgan Trail for Henry Walling and his son. The barn was constructed of elm and cottonwood from the area. It is believed that the barn at 2682 Morgan Trail may also have been built by Miller. (From Anthon, go south on Highway 31 to 250th Street. Turn east to Morgan Trail, then south.)
Broesder barn: Owner Evert Broesder's grandfather, H.A. Bates, meticulously built this complex and glorious round barn from a Horace Duncan design in 1911. Duncan of Indiana was one of America's renowned round barn builders, but this is believed to be the only one in Iowa. Bates also built the silo behind the barn by hand. The barn is still used for agriculture. (From Algona go north on US 169. Turn right onto US 18, then left onto County Road P54 (Palm Creek Road). Follow this to the farm at 2608 140th Avenue.)
Kirschner-Booth barn: This large barn, built in 1890, has a widow's walk on the roof, probably the only one in Iowa. The barn, built by Philip Kirschner, is on land that has been in the same family since 1856. It is considered the largest barn in the county. As a child, owner Julia Heywood Booth used to avoid doing dishes by running up the three flights of stairs to the walk and disappearing. A historic cabin will also be on view. (From Peterson, take M27 north to the top of the hill and turn west. Go by the cemetery to the barn.)
Stephas barn: Rodney and Sherri Stephas barn has housed farm animals through the years and even has hog crates made of oak. Rodney and his son used stones from the farm to create a fireplace in the feed bin room. (4010 200th Avenue, Royal. From Highway 71 (south of Spencer), to two miles west on Highway 240 (400th Street) and south a quarter mile on 200th Avenue.)
Phillips barn: The Phillips barn was built in the 1930s with lumber from trees cut from the grove on the property. The 80x40-foot barn is 45 feet tall and owned by Jack Phillips whose Wheeler side of the family built the barn. Jack's son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Lori, live on the farm. (1660 460th Street, Linn Grove. From Highway 71 south of Spencer, go five miles west on 440th Street (B53), two miles south on 170th Av (M-36), ½ miles west on 460th Street.)
Bruggeman-Hennings barn: In 1900 Frederick Bruggeman built the barn on a farm that has remained in the family. Bruggeman's great grandson, Ron Hennings and his wife, Jan, live on the farm. The barn, decorated with memorabilia, is sometimes used for community meetings. (6823 340th Street, Hartley. Go one mile south of Hartley on Warbler Avenue; then east on 340th Street (B-20) for 1 ¼ miles. Barn is on south side of road with long lane.)
Snow barn: Marjorie Snow barn, Sibley, is 45x80-feet and was built in the early 1900s. Christina Greenfield, granddaughter of Marjorie Snow, and her family live on the farm. (4946 110th Street. (3/4 mile west of L32 on 110th Street and one mile south of Minnesota border.))
Lorch Mennonite barn: David and Jane Lorch, Ocheyedan, own a magnificent Mennonite barn which was built in 1889 and has a distinctive overhanging side. (A-34 (220th Street) and M-18 (White Avenue.)
Otto barn: Jason and Mikayla Otto's barn is a massive (50x120-feet) barn that was built in 1880 by a Mennonite minister whose family lived in the barn during their first winter and whose congregation sometimes met there. Hay mow holds 10,000 bales. Barn and even ladders are pegged. (One-half mile east of May City on 225th Street)
Ackerman barn: On the Todd and Susan Ackerman farm are barn and smaller "matching" hog house built between 1915 and 1918. The barn is 84x36-feet; the hog house is 56x24-feet. At one time two Russian carpenters lived in the haymow of the hog house. (One-half mile north of Ocheyedan on corner of L-58 and Highway 9.)
Jones-Rieck barn: Carrie and Ed Jones barn was a milking and horse barn. It was built in 1917 and has been in Carrie's family for four generations. Carrie, a lawyer, grew up on the farm and recently moved back with her husband and child. (Nine miles east of Highway 59 on A-34 (220th Street) and one half mile north on Verdin Avenue, Ocheyedan.)
Beldt's Broad View Ranch barns: All of the original buildings and two massive barns remain on this historic 1882 farm owned by Charles and Christine Beldt. Beldt's great-grandfather, Charles Frederick Peters, born in Prussia, was the youngest of 15 children and, in 1868, at 18, immigrated to America and found work in Illinois. He saved his money and bought a quarter of a section of land for $14.50 per acre. The main barn is 48x80-feet with a foundation of red granite brought by rail from Granite in the county to Matlock's depot where Peters hauled the rock to the farm with horses. The barn is like an original antique. (2572 Log Avenue, Sheldon. Take Highway 60 north of Sheldon, go west on 280th Street five miles, and north on Log Avenue (B 14)).
Lakewood Farm: Some 500 acres of Lakewood Farm were first purchased by Horace MacMillan, who served as a federal attorney in Iowa, in 1887. By 1908 there were 1,020 acres. James McMillan, son of Horace and an Iowa State graduate turned the farm into a breeding and show farm for Percherons including Calypso, a renowned stallion. There were several owners until in 1945 August Maurer and son, Martin, purchased the land in what the local newspaper called, "the biggest land deal in the history of the county." The farm is in the Mauer Farm Trust and is farmed by Greg and Shar Dengler. The farm has its own water tower. A tornado created damage to buildings in 1996. (From Rock Rapids, go south six miles on Highway 75, then west one mile on 210th Street (A-34), and south 1/3 mile on Grant Avenue.