Northeast Iowa Barn Tour and Picnic - 2002
Thanks to everyone for helping to make the Northeast Iowa Barn Tour and Picnic a huge success! Marlene Fenstermann, Iowa Barn Foundation representative to Allamakee and Winneshiek Counties, organized the Iowa Barn Foundation's spring barn tour and picnic. Thirteen unique and historic Northeast Iowa barns in the Decorah, Iowa area were open to the public Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, 2002. The barns on this free, self-guided tour were open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
Most barn owners reported over 200 visitors on Saturday and over 150 visitors on Sunday, the day of the picnic. The picnic was held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 9, 2002 at Luther College's Ashmore-Jewell barn, on College Avenue in Decorah, Iowa. The cost of the picnic was $8 per person, with proceeds going to the Iowa Barn Foundation's barn preservation fund.
The Iowa Barn Foundation is very grateful to Marlene and Duane Fenstermann for all of the work they did organizing the tour, to Roxanne Mehlisch who coordinated reservations, to all of the generous folks who opened their barns to the public, and to the many volunteers in northeast Iowa who helped host barns, serve food, and clean up. The Iowa Barn Foundation is also grateful to Darrell Henning and to Peter Jacobson, both of whom gave talks about barns.
The Iowa Barn Foundation would like to extend special thanks to Wapsie Produce of Decorah, Iowa, who donated capons for the picnic; to Lynch Barbecue of Wacoma, Iowa, who cooked the capons; to Ken Klocke of K and S Foods of Decorah, Iowa, who donated side dishes; and to dairy farmer David Wise, of Foresight Farm in Decorah, Iowa, who served fresh, old-fashioned milk shakes.
Thirteen Unique Barns were on Tour
The early log barns, round barns, Norwegian, and Czech barns on tour highlight the diversity of Northeast Iowa barns. These barns were photographed and featured in the Spring 2002 edition of the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine, "The Barns of Allamakee and Winneshiek Counties." Darrell Henning, recently retired from Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa, gave a talk about the ethnicity of northeast Iowa barns. Hans Peter Jorgensen of Decorah presented information on the restoration of the Ashmore-Jewell Barn.
Photos of the barns on the tour, along with their locations, are listed below:
Heine Barn, 3307 Bluffton Road, Decorah (Winneshiek County). Barn 1 on the map. From the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 52, travel north on Highway 52 for two miles. Turn left onto Pole Line Road (Luther College will be on the right). Turn right onto the concrete bridge onto Bluffton Road and go 7 miles to the old Bluffton Bridge. Go straight onto gravel 1. 5 miles. The Heine farm is on the left side. You cannot see the farm from the road. As you go down the drive, the first building you will see is the barn.
The Heine barn sits above the Upper Iowa River and was built in 1903 by immigrants. The barn has a limestone foundation. The Amish recently restored the barn. A photo of the barn taken by Marlene Fenstermann, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Ashmore-Jewell Barn, College Drive, Decorah (Winneshiek County). Barn 2 on the map. From the four-way stop sign (Casey's General Store/Subway) in West Decorah, travel north on College Drive for .6 mile. The Ashmore-Jewell barn is on the right.
This 10,000 square foot barn can trace its history back to 1868 and English settlers, Captain Anderson Ashmore and Thomas Filbert. After a bad wheat harvest in 1874, Ashmore returned to England, and Jacob Jewell, Yankee settler, bought the place and built a second barn. In the 1880's, Jewell's son, Frank, added another section and at the turn-of-the-century, the barns were connected and the long section extended. Frank sold it to Luther College in 1929. The barn housed the livestock that provided milk, meat, and eggs for the college students and staff until the 1960's. The barn was recently restored by Amish. A photo of the barn taken by Marlene Fenstermann, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Emery Bridge Barn, 3453 Bear Creek Road, Decorah (Winneshiek County). Barn 3 on the map. From the four-way stop sign (Casey's General Store/Subway) on College Drive in West Decorah, turn north on W38 "Locust Road" for 9.3 miles. Turn right on A26 "Big Canoe Road" for 1.5 miles. Turn left on Bear Creek Road for .9 miles. The Emery Bridge barn is on the left.
The Norwegian-American bridge barn (laave bru) was built in Norwegian settlements between 1871 and 1906. It combines a characteristic internal bridge found in most Norwegian barns with post and beam building methods of 19th century American barns. The Norwegian bridge barn differs from the European bank barn in that the bridge is an internal structure, one bay wide, extending from the drive-in side access to the opposite side of the building and is above the hay floor level on either side. The external ramp leads to the internal bridge. A photo of the barn taken by Eunice Veeder, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Mansfield Log Barn, Highlandville (Winneshiek County). Barn 4 on the map. From the four-way stop sign (Casey's General Store/Subway) on College Drive in West Decorah, turn north on W38 "Locust Road" and go 9.3 miles. Turn right on A26 "Big Canoe Road" for 2.5 miles. Turn left on "Highlandville Road" for 1.5 miles, crossing the bridge in Highlandville. Turn right on Quandahl Road for .4 miles. The Mansfield log barn is on the right.
This turn-of-the-century barn is unique with its log foundation built by Norwegian immigrants. The farmstead dates to 1855 and homesteader, Horace Wilder. The farm was owned by the Henry and Ida Amundson family from 1957 to 2000 when Dan and Ann Mansfield bought it. A photo of the barn taken by Eunice Veeder, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Halverson-Huinker Barn, 2091 Middle Ossian Road, Decorah (Winneshiek County). Barn 5 on the map. From the Highway 9 and Highway 52 intersection, travel east on Highway 9 to the first stop light. Turn left on Short Street for .3 miles to Division Street. Turn right on Division (W38/Middle Calmar Road) for 2.4 miles. Turn left on Middle Ossian Road and go two miles.
An article in the Decorah Journal in 1942 claimed this stone barn was built 75 years earlier. The walls are three feet thick. It is believed Torger Moen may have built the barn. A photo of the barn taken by Marlene Fenstermann, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Czech Dairy Barn, 3109 155th Street, Ft. Atkinson (Winneshiek County). Barn 6 on the map. From New Hampton travel east on Highway 24 for 19 miles, through Jackson Junction, to 295th Avenue. Turn left on 295th and drive 2.5 miles to 155th Street. Turn left and go 1.5 miles to Sherrydale Farm.
Original owners (1855) were Mary and Joseph Puffer. Their son Michael and wife Rose Puffer, built the wooden barn and six surrounding buildings from 1900-1905. The Prague-born Puffers raised Brown Swiss, known for their "rich cream." Community dances were held in the barn. Sherry Puffer Gribble, great granddaughter of the original owners, and her husband, Dale, meticulously restored the barn and farm. A photo of the barn taken by Marlene Fenstermann, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Meier-Dixon Round Barn, 1158 North Fork Hollow Road, Waukon (Allamakee County). Barn 7 on the map. From Decorah, travel east on Highway 9 for 15.6 miles. Turn right on North Fork Hollow Road and go one-fourth mile.
This is the round barn on the cover of Lowell Soike's book, Without Right Angles. The barn was built by Fred Meier in 1912. It has a 56 foot diameter and is of bank barn design with a lower story of stone and a second, wood framed loft, reached by a ramp embankment built into its north side. This is one of few wood barns in Iowa with horizontally sawn wood siding. The barn's interior central silo is constructed of wood staves and lined with cement. The barn is on the National Register of Historic Places. The photo of the barn on the left was taken by Marlene Fenstermann and the photo on the right was taken by Eunice Veeder (click the photos to enlarge them).
Note: Sadly, the 90 year-old Meier-Dixon Round Barn was destroyed during a thunderstorm between 8:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 27th, 2002. We will remember this fine barn and are thankful that participants of the Northeast Iowa Barn Tour were able to enjoy the barn in June. We urge you to become a member of the Iowa Barn Foundation to help preserve Iowa's barns before they, like the Meier-Dixon Round Barn, are gone forever. Two photos of the barn after it was destroyed by the storm, taken by Marlene Fenstermann, are shown on the right (click the photos to enlarge them).
Early Log Barns, 801 White Pine Road, Waterville (Allamakee County). Barns 8 and 9 on the map. From Decorah, travel east on Highway 9 for 16.2 miles. Travel east on Highway 76 for 6.9 miles. Turn left on State Forest Road, B25, for 6.2 miles, then left on White Pine Road for .6 mile to the first log barn on right side of the road. Continue on White Pine Road another mile to second log barn on right side of road.
These two barns may be among the only log barns left in Iowa. It is believed the large barn was built in 1868. Orville Nelson owned these primitive barns for years. Photos of both barns taken by Eunice Veeder, are shown on the right (click the photos to enlarge them).
12-Sided Schroeder Barn, 2856 Highway 76, Dorchester (Allamakee County). Barn 10 on the map. From Decorah, travel east on Highway 9 to Waukon. Travel north on Highway 76 for 14 miles. The barn is one-half mile south of Eitzen.
This unique barn, owned by Charles and Nancy Schroeder, has continually been used in farming since it was built. A photo of the barn taken by Marlene Fenstermann, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
12-Sided Thomas Reburn Barn, 1641 Pool Hill Drive, New Albin (Allamakee County). Barn 11 on the map. From Decorah, travel east on Highway 9 to Lansing (37 miles). Turn left on Highway 26 to Pool Hill Road, A-11, just south of New Albin, which is 11 miles from Lansing. Turn left on Pool Hill Road to first farm on left.
A traveling crew built this 12-sided silo barn in 1914. It was built to feed cattle on the first floor where a manger surrounds the silo base. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. As in the beginning, the name of the owner is Tom Reburn, and he still fills the silo for feeding cattle. A photo of the barn taken by Marlene Fenstermann, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Jacobson Barn, 1757 Valdres Road, Decorah (Winneshiek County). Barn 12 on the map. From Decorah, travel east on Highway 9. Beyond the airport turn right onto W42. Go one mile south to the first gravel intersection, Valdres Road. Turn right and proceed ¾ mile to the first driveway on the left. Go to the second farm at the end of the lane.
This barn was built in two phases - the original stone portion in the late 1850's and the south frame addition in 1888. The original owner was a subsistence farmer while his son expanded farm operations and built the board and batten frame addition onto the stone portion. The Jacobson Farmstead is a National Register Historic Site and owned by the Vesterheim Museum. A photo of the barn taken by Eunice Veeder, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).
Pickar Barn, 1538 Viking Avenue, Sumner (Bremer County). From Sumner, travel west 1.5 miles on Highway 93, then one mile south on V56.
En route to Decorah, folks will have the opportunity to visit the large Bremer County barn painstakingly restored over three years by David Pickar. David had worked diligently on the barn for two years when someone from Dan Marino's chain of restaurants stopped by and asked to buy the barn's wood! David and Ruth have received an Iowa Barn Foundation Award of Distinction for the project. This barn was featured in the Fall 2000 edition of the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine. A photo of the barn after restoration is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).