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Historic restored barns throughout Iowa will be opened to the public

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 11:39 a.m. CDT

Historic restored barns throughout Iowa will be opened to the public during Iowa Barn Foundation’s free, self-guided, all-state barn tour Saturday, Sept. 28, and Sunday, Sept. 29, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Most barns on tour have been restored with matching grants from Iowa Barn Foundation. Other property owners received awards of distinction from the foundation for restorations they undertook themselves.

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 information: www.iowabarnfoundation.org

South central Iowa barns

Beeler barn, 2569 140th Street, Van Meter (Madison County) - From DeSoto, go south on Highway 169. Turn east on 130th Street to stop sign. Then go south on Prairie View Avenue and finally east on 140th Street. Barn is in what was a strong German settlement. Barn was built by the Burger brothers including one who became the first county agent in Iowa.

McBroom-Hargis barn, 1218 Highway 169, Winterset (Madison County) - Barn is five miles south of I-80 (Adel, De Soto, Winterset exit). Article in Madison County paper (1884) discussed this barn, “It would be the largest barn in this part of the county.” It has a wooden track, post and beam, pegs and was designed by I.F. Carter of De Soto.

Oswald barn, 1071 Harken Hills Drive, Osceola (Clarke County)-Take Highway 34 through Osceola; go another half mile to Harken Hills Drive on the south side of the road. Beef barn was designed in the 1930s and can be converted into a show pavilion to seat over 700. Pure-bred Angus were developed there by Dr. C.R. Harken, Osceola physician. Farm was operated with view of helping small producer market his animals. J.C. Penney often visited the farm.

Southern Iowa barns

Partridge barn, 32086 252nd Street, Lineville (Decatur County) From Interstate 25 go east on Highway 2 to Leon and continue another eight miles east of Leon to the intersection of County Road R 69 (Woodland Road) and Highway 2. Turn right on Woodland Road and go 5.5 miles to 252nd Street or the first road left (east) about a mile south of the old Woodland Town site and Woodland Community Church. The barn is one-fourth mile down the road on the north side. Barn (56 by 32) built in 1930 by William Massey who wanted the largest and fanciest barn in the area. It was built prior to the Depression, and he lost the farm. Blocks delivered by train from Lineville. From there it was 10 miles by horse and wagon. Barn is in beautiful area.

Kosman barn, 10611 240th Avenue, Weldon (Decatur County) - From Osceola, take US 69 south 10 miles to Clarke-Decatur Street. Turn east and go one mile to first gravel road. Turn south. Barn is second house on the west side. Barn, built in 1907, was the scene of large barn dances. Barn has always been used for horses and cows.

Ramsey barn, east of Mount Ayr on Highway 2 at Lesanville Road (Ringgold County) - From Interstate 35, take Highway 2 west 20 miles to Lesanville Road. (Lesanville Road is five miles west of Kellerton.) Turn north on Lesanville Road and travel one-fourth mile. Solomon Lesan, one of the first settlers in the county, obtained the farm from the government in 1855. The village of Lesanville, site of the barn, has recently been restored.

McCaughey barn, 2531 Highway 2, (Ringgold County) - From Interstate 35, take Highway 2 west 20 miles past Lesanville Road. Howard Lesan built this large (40- by 80-foot) barn for his dairy, the first in the county. This barn was built in 1929 after a fire took an earlier one.

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