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Barns of Madison, Clarke and Decatur counties featured during June tour

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 3:43 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 1:57 p.m. CDT

Unusual, rarely seen, and historic barns in Madison, Clarke, and Decatur counties will be featured on the annual June “area tour” sponsored by the Iowa Barn Foundation from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23.

Iowa Barn Foundation focuses on barns close-up on these annual tours in different areas of Iowa. This year’s coordinators are Ron McBroom, Ginnie Hargis, Bill Krause, Jack Van Laar, Judy Partridge and Dianne Oswald.

A picnic will be held Sunday noon at the historic Ron McBroom-Ginnie Hargis Barn, 1218 Highway169,Winterset in MadisonCounty. The barn is five miles south of Interstate 80, the Adel,DeSoto,Winterset exit. For reservations, mail a check for $9 to Ron McBroom and Ginnie Hargis, 1218 Highway 169, Winterset, IA 50273. If you have questions, call Ron McBroom and Ginnie Hargis, 515-834-2026.

Barns include:

MADISON COUNTY

Miller Barn(Madison County) 2107 120th St, Winterset. Take the Highway 169 exit off of I-80. Go five miles south to 120th Street. Turn right (west) and drive 0.75 miles. Barn on right.

The gabled barn was built in teens or twenties. It has center hay storage from ground to roof.

Martens Barns(Madison County) 2091 120th Street, Winterset. Next door (west) to Miller barns.

The barns were built in the 1870s, possibly by A.M. Peters who settled the property in 1868. Fred Martens’ grandfather purchased the farm in 1915. Ron McBroom, a tour coordinator, generously donated time and hard work toward the restoration of this barn, after learning that it was vulnerable, because he thought it should be preserved. The north barn was the cattle barn and crib; the south barn was used for horses. A manure bucket system runs on an S-curve track around the basement of this barn. At some time, an old homesteader’s claim shack was moved between the two barns for additional storage.  (Martensdale is named for the family.)

Wilson Barn(Madison County), 1217 Highway 169, Winterset. Travel five miles south of I-80 on Highway 169. Barn is on right side of highway next to big, white house.

The pegged horse barn was built around 1883.  Barn is full-floored with limestone foundation.

Draman Barn(Madison County), 1939 Highway 169, Winterset. Travel about 13 miles south from I-80 on Highway 169. On west side of the highway, about one mile north of Winterset/Highway 92.

This small stone barn, probably built in the mid-to late 1870, is a jewel in the center of Iowa.  The barn has a gabled roof and was a cow barn.  It is on the National Historic Register.

Smith Barn(Madison County), 2797 Pioneer Avenue, Peru. Travel through downtown Winterset and keep heading south on Clark Tower Road (also called Old Highway 169 and P 71) for six miles. Turn left on Peru Road and drive 3.3 miles to Pioneer Avenue. Turn left (north) and go to the corner of Peru Road and Pioneer Avenue.

The pegged barn was built around 1920. Bark still remains on some of the interior lumber.

CLARKE COUNTY

Blake Barn(Clarke County), 2155 Benson Street, Weldon. Take Exit 29 off I-35 (south of Osceola). Go east for 1.5 miles to Highway 69. Turn right (south) onto Highway 69 and go 4 miles to Benson St (CR H50), and turn right (west) for 1.5 miles.

This 33- by 39-foot barn actually sits on Benson Street, which crosses over I-35.  Interestingly, the barn is highly visible from I-35.  The barn was built in 1902, has a gambrel roof, and a stairway to the loft.

West Barn(Clarke County), 2239 Clarke-Decatur Street, Weldon. Take Exit 29 off I-35 (south of Osceola). Go east for 1.5 miles to Highway 69, turn right (south) on Highway 69 and drive for about five miles to Clarke-Decatur Street (Weldon corner). Turn right and drive for 1.5 miles. Or from the Blake barn, go back to Highway 69, turn a right (south) and travel one more mile. Take another right onto Clarke-Decatur St. (CR J12) and drive for 1.5 miles.

In a nostalgic hidden corner of Clarke County is this 30- by 60-foot pegged barn. The barn is unusual in that it has a large hay mow door on each end of the barn.

DECATUR COUNTY

Goodman-Vaughn Octagonal Barn(Decatur County). Starting in Leon, at the west edge at the four-way stop (the intersection of US 69 (NW Church St.) and Iowa Highway 2), proceed 3 miles north. The house is on the east side of the highway with the barn behind it.

The unusual and important barn was built in 1905 by Aaron Goodman to house farm horses. Half pie slice-shaped stalls lined the perimeter of the barn. Paul and Terri Vaughn purchased the farm in 1990 from Aaron Goodman’s children. The barn is featured in the Lowell Soike book, “Without Right Angles”.

Shetland Pony Farm(Decatur County) 21588 Pony Farm Road, Leon. From Leon, go 3.5 miles east on Iowa Highway 2. Turn south on Pony Farm Road (CR R58) and travel 1.5 miles.

The barn, built after the turn of the century, was created with redwood from the Northwest.  During the 1950s, the barn, built in the 1930s, became the center of activity for a renowned Shetland pony operation. Ponies were sold to various catalogs including Spiegel and possibly Sears. The owner was a Leon native from Chicago who had the name Cowpuncher.

Ross Farm(Decatur County) 24977 327th Avenue, Lineville (Woodland). From four-way stop in Leon, travel east on Iowa Highway 2 for 8 miles to Woodland Road (CR R69). Turn south on Woodland Road and travel five miles to Woodland Church. Turn east for a half mile to the Ross farm.

This farm is referred to as on “the old Bedford Ross place.” Bedford Ross bred, raised and exhibited American Saddlebreds, Percherons, and a Belgian, all of which he had stallions he stood at stud. He also had a Hackney-Shetland pony stud. He kept horses and worked them on the farm until seven or eight years before he died in 1998.  The barn was built in the 1930s. The farm is owned by Gabe Adair, who is from an “old” area family.

Old Iowa State Farm (Hullinger Farm)(Decatur County) 30107 County Road J66. Go east on Iowa Highway 2 from Leon two miles to Lineville Road (CR R52) and turn south. Go approximately 16 miles to Highway J66. Turn right (west) on J66 and go 3.5 miles to barn.

This barn, built about 1940, is on a historic farm.  The farm was part of the Southern Iowa Pasture Farms orchestrated by the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station and the Iowa Agricultural Extension Service in the winter of 1935 to establish a pasture improvement demonstration project through the U.S. Forest Service.  This was during the Depression, and that same year the Land Policy Section of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration was transferred to the Land Utilization Division of the Resettlement Administration where emphasis was on developing jobs for men who were certified on relief.  After World War II, the farm became a USDA research site.  Much of the research at the farm at that time was directed by Dr. L.N. Hazel, distinguished Iowa State University animal science professor.  In 1955, the farm’s title was transferred to the Iowa State University Agriculture Experiment Station.  The farm was sold by the Board of Regents in 1969.

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