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NW Iowa barn tour set

By Staff | May 15, 2009

A total of 14 historic and out-of-the-ordinary northwest Iowa barns will be featured on a tour slated between 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. June 13 and 14.

The tour barns include a historic round barn with an remarkable foundation of local red granite, a one-of-a-kind wooden round barn, a barn that housed renowned Percherons, including the celebrated Calypso, a barn with a prominent widow’s walk on the roof and two huge and historic Mennonite barns.

The self-guided tour, which will include barns from counties of Lyon to Kossuth, is free and open to the public.

Carrie Jones, Iowa Barn Foundation board member from Ocheyedan, is chairman of the tour.

A picnic will be held on June 14, at noon at the Hennings’ barn, 6823 340th Street, south of Hartley in northeast O’Brien County. Checks for $6 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 non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the preservation of Iowa’s rural heritage through raising money to giving matching grants to property owners to restore their barns.

The tour encourages awareness of the appreciation and preservation of Iowa’s barns. A semi-annual magazine is published by the Iowa Barn Foundation.

For more information about the tour visit www.iowabarnfoundation.org.

The tour includes:

  • Woodbury County: 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 area woods. It is believed that the barn at 2682 Morgan Trail may also have been built by Miller.

Directions – From Anthon, go south on Iowa highway 31 to 250th St. Turn east to Morgan Trail, then south.

  • Kossuth County: 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.

Directions – From Algona go north on U.S. highway 169. Turn right onto U.S. highway 18, then left onto Palm Creek Road. Follow this to the farm at 2608 140th Avenue.

  • Clay County: Kirchner-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 Kirchner, 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.

Directions – From Peterson, take M27 north to the top of the hill and turn west. Go by the cemetery to the barn.

  • Clay County: 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.

Directions – From U.S. highway 71, go south of Spencer, then two miles west on 400th Street, then south a quarter mile to 4010 200th Ave.

  • Clay County: Phillips barn. The Phillips barn was built in the 1930s with lumber from trees cut from the grove on the property. The 80-by-40-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.

Directions – From U.S. highway 71, south of Spencer, go five miles west on 440th Street, two miles south on 170th Ave., then west to 1660 460th St.

  • O’Brien County: 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. Directions – Go one mile south of Hartley on Warbler Avenue, then east to 6823 340th Street. The barn is on south side of road with long lane.
  • Osceola County: Snow barn. Marjorie Snow’s barn near Sibley is 45-by-80-feet and was built in the early 1900s. Christina Greenfield, granddaughter of Marjorie Snow, and her family live on the farm. Directions – Go 3/4 mile west of L32 to 4946 10th St.. It’s one mile south of Minnesota border.
  • Osceola County: Lorch Mennonite barn. David and Jane Lorch, of Ocheyedan, own a magnificent Mennonite barn, which was built in 1889 and has a distinctive overhanging side.

Directions – at the intersection of 220th Street and White Avenue.

  • Osceola County: Otto barn. Jason and Mikayla Otto’s barn is a massive 50-by-120-foot barn built in 1880 by a Mennonite minister whose family lived in the barn during their first winter and where the congregation sometimes met. The hay mow holds 10,000 bales. The barn and ladders are pegged.

Directions – One-half mile east of May City on 225th Street.

  • Osceola County: Ackerman barn. On the Todd and Susan Ackerman farm are barn and smaller “matching” hog house built between 1915 and 1918. The barn is 84-by-36-feet and the hog house is 56-by-24-feet. At one time two Russian carpenters lived in the haymow of the hog house.

Directions – One-half mile north of Ocheyedan on corner of L-58 and Iowa highway 9.

  • Osceola County: Jones-Rieck barn. Carrie and Ed Jones’ structure 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.

Directions – Nine miles east of U.S. highway 59 on 220th Street and one half mile north on Verdin Avenue.

  • Lyon County: 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 48-by-80-feet with a foundation of local red granite. Peters hauled the rock to the farm with horses. The barn is like an original antique.

Directions – Take Iowa highway 60 north of Sheldon, go west on 280th Street for five miles, then north to 2572 Log Ave.

  • Lyon County: Lakewood Farm. About 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, is an Iowa State graduate who 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 Maurer Farm Trust and is farmed by Fred and Shar Dengler. The farm has its own water tower. A tornado created damage to buildings in 1996.

Directions – From Rock Rapids, go south six miles on U.S. highway 75, then west one mile on 210th Street, then south 1/3 mile on Grant Avenue.

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