Iowa barn tour receives national attention
Self-guided barn tour is Sept. 28-29
Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:38 AM
This weekend's All-State Barn tour is generating some national attention.
A number of Northeast Iowa barns recently were featured in the Los Angeles Times Travel section in a story about the Iowa Barn Foundation's tour, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday.
The Times website also includes a 16-photo slide show of the state's historic barns. Visit: latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-iowa-barn-tour-20130910,0,7980519.photogallery?index=la-trb-iowa-barn-tour-20130910-019.
A nice surprise
Jacqueline Schmeal, president of the Iowa Barn Foundation, said she was thrilled when she found out about the feature.
"I always send little press releases out around the country prior to our tours, incase there might be readers who will be interested," said Schmeal.
"I sent a shortened release to the Los Angeles Times and it ended up as a major photo spread ... what a great gift to Iowa," said Schmeal, adding the tour has also been featured in the Chicago Tribune in recent years.
About the tour
The Iowa Barn Foundation will host its 13th annual All-State Barn Tour Saturday, Sept. 28, and Sunday, Sept 29.
Historic restored barns, throughout Iowa, will be opened to the public during the Iowa Barn Foundation's free, self-guided, all-state barn tour. The tour runs from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. each day.
Most barns on tour have been restored with matching grants from the Iowa Barn Foundation. Other property owners received awards of distinction from the foundation for restorations they undertook themselves.
Northeast Iowa barns included on the tour:
1. Lee-Oakley barn, 2279 County Rd. W 42, Decorah. This native, limestone Norwegian barn was built by John Johnson in 1862. Original materials are intact. The barn has a gambrel roof with wooden shingles that was probably added at a later date. The original roof would have been a gable roof.
2. Gribble barn, 3109 155th St., Ft. Atkinson. This Czech barn on a lovely farm has always been in the family. This barn was featured in a New York Times article June 1, 2012.
3. Palmer barn, 1206 150th St., Castalia. Rock is from nearby quarry using teams and wagons. Framing of barn was oak harvested from own woodlands. Portable sawmill was brought to saw logs. Some 200-300 men came for a one-day barn raising; each man was given a new hammer.
4. Boeding stone milk house, 2390 Madison Rd., Decorah.
5. Hinsenbrock barn, 1477 Norske Rd., Decorah. This pegged barn (36x70) was built into a hill in 1878 by Peder Bakke, an original Norwegian settler in the county. The barn retains original wooden hay drop for loose hay and has unusual double support rafters. There are hand-hewn timbers, and pegs are in the same condition as when they were made.
6. Marlow-Saak barn, 1431 Pole Line Rd., Waukon. The barn, built in 1890s, is 70x40. Saak family names are on interior. "As an immigrant from England and recent American citizen, I have come to realize Midwestern barns are like the churches and cathedrals of Europe in scale and importance to the landscape," wrote the owner.
7. Hotvedt barn, 1996 County Road A 14, west of Hesper on the state line. John McMullens bought farm from government in 1852 for $1.25 and acre. Nearby, Mabel, Minnesota's steam engine days started on the farm.
8. Chimney Rock Ranch barn, 1245 Chimney Rock Rd., Waterville. Large building is corn crib, granary, hog barn and machine shed and was built in two parts in 1907-08. The corncrib/granary has a basement for hogs. The second part was added to the north end of the original building later that year or the next year.
9. Blazek barn, 1755 Ridgeway Blvd., Lawler. Distinguished large barn had a drive-through center where teams of horses pulled and unloaded full loads of hay. Barn dances were held until early 1900s.
10. Dighton barn, 3344 120th Avenue, Coggon. This round barn on the National Register was built in 1914 by Rob Kirkpatrick, grandfather of owner. It is intricate.
11. Buckley barn, 12178 200th St, Elma. Barn was built in 1915 on land given to family by President Buchanan.
"You've got some of the greatest barns in America in Northeast Iowa," said Schmeal.
About the foundation
The Iowa Barn Foundation, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization founded in 1997 by a group of folks with Iowa roots, raises money from individuals, foundations and corporations to give matching grants to property owners to restore their barns. The barns must be restored as closely as possible to original. The property owner must sign a perpetual easement when receiving a grant.
This is the only group of its kind in the country.
The purpose of the tour is to encourage barn preservation in the state, to teach young people about Iowa's rich agricultural heritage, and to renew pride in this unique heritage. Owners will discuss the barns and their histories at many stops. Visitors are expected from around the country. The effort has encouraged barn preservation throughout Iowa and beyond.
The tour is free although donations to support the foundation's work are appreciated.
For a complete listing and directions to all barns on the tour, visit iowabarnfoundation.org/events.htm.