Iowa Barn Foundation

Iowa Barn Foundation

20 Years of Working To Preserve Iowa's Barns

Annual All-State Tour was held Sept 22 & 23, 2018 - Details here.

Rimathe Barn

The Iowa Barn Foundation would like to alert our members to an Amazon rewards program. For every purchase you make by using AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to your designated beneficiary. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the Iowa Barn Foundation.
For more information, go to the webpage, where you can read more about it by clicking on their link, Learn more about AmazonSmile.

Iowa Barn Foundation News

A Loss of a Historic Barn

On July 19, 2018, one of Iowa's celebrated historic barns was swooped 15 feet into the air by a tornado and slammed to the ground leaving only scattered pieces of the stunning National Register treasure on the ground.

Sharon Galloway, the barn's owner, was visiting friends 20 miles away when she received a call from a friend, "Your house is fine, but you don't have a barn anymore."

By the time she reached home, near Keosauqua in southeast Iowa, there were 30 cars parked on the property. "I felt terrible. It was surreal. I look at it, and it's gone," she said.

Sharon's father, Clyde McElhinney, bought the barn in 1957. It had been built in 1890 by William Barker as a dairy barn. It was a basement barn and was special because it featured Louden custom equipment. The house, which was not damaged, was built in 1884. The cupola also remains.

Sharon, 77, who was a teacher, is concerned about the 100 bats that lived in the barn. "I wonder what happened to them," she said.

More photos of the Galloway Barn on this website, and more details on the Louden Tour website.

Photo taken July 2013 0f the Galloway Barn, north of Keosauqua, IA.
Galloway Barn

Photo taken July 19, 2018, after the tornado at about 6pm
Galloway Barn


2018 Spring Tour (Western Iowa), was held June 23 & 24, 2018

Over 400 visitors were reported to have visited the barns. For more details about the Tour, visit the Tour webpage, and see a Report about the Tour.

Barn available, must be removed

In Johnson County, Iowa (dated 05-05-18), a house and barn in Iowa City must be moved. Some of our readers may want the barn. Read all about it in the Little Village Magazine (Website by Little Village Creative Services). Scroll down the article for more about the barn.

Annual Iowa barn Foundation Board Meeting held on October 19, 2017

During our board meeting, two barn owners were awarded matching grants to restore their barns. One barn owner, located in northeast Iowa, applied for a matching grant to repair the roof, siding, and windows, and to jack up the barn in one location where it is sagging, and to make other minor repairs.

The second barn, located in east-central Iowa, applied for a matching grant for their barn, used for cattle shelter and hay storage. The grant will be used to repair and paint the south and east walls, and to paint the east sliding door. To meet the requirements of this grant, the owner agreed to remove the remaining metal siding and replace it with wooden siding.

In addition, the board approved newly updated Grant Application Forms to clarify the requirements for our grants, and for ease of use by applicants.

Our booth at the 2017 Iowa State Fair, Aug 10 thru Aug 20

BIG thanks to Ron McBroom and Ginnie Hargis for again creating a fantastic booth at the Iowa State Fair, starting Aug 10. They handed out magazines and business cards with the dates for the IBF 17th annual All-State Barn Tour. If you would like to thank them or volunteer for next year, their email is   (See 2016 story here).

Everybody has a story - see our Barn Stories page

Do you have a story or photos about barns that you would like to share with our Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine readers or our website viewers?  Submit your words, photos, or story ideas to Jacqueline Schmeal, PO Box 111, New Providence, IA 50206.

We always see the exteriors of barns. But, the interior often reveals the story of the complexities of building the structure. Often the interiors are works of art that are hidden. Look at the interior of your barn--especially the ceiling. Would not others like to see it? Take a photo of it and send it to us along with a little history of the barn and its builder.

The 100 year-old Smith barn - click on the photo to see more.
Smith Barn Interior

Also, we are interested in sharing photos of "marks" in the barn that might indicate its age or who built it. We have found dates written in barn closets. Please send to Iowa barn Foundation Magazine, POB 111, New Providence, Iowa 50206. Or e- mail to:

Thank you. We would love to hear from you.  And we are interested in knowing about barn-related activities around Iowa.


Our primary Mission

Barns, America's symbols of honesty, integrity, and the American dream, are disappearing from Iowa's countryside at a rapid rate.  With mechanized agriculture of today, barns are no longer the center of the farm.

But, they remain poignant reminders of our agricultural heritage.

Founded in 1997, the Iowa Barn Foundation, an all-volunteer, all-state organization, is dedicated to preserving Iowa's rural agricultural buildings.  The Iowa Barn Foundation is an Iowa non-profit corporation with tax-exempt status under paragraph 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

The primary mission of the Iowa Barn Foundation is to educate the public about the significance and importance of Iowa's barns through the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine and our Barn Tours.  It raises money to provide barn rehabilitation or restoration matching grants to help property owners restore their barns.

In addition, property owners who use their own funds to restore or rehabilitate barns that would otherwise qualify for a matching grant, are eligible to receive an Iowa Barn Foundation Award of Distinction. Award of Distinction icon  Take a look at some of the restored barns that have been featured on the IBF Barn Tours since 2001.

The Iowa Barn Foundation, in keeping with its mission to preserve Iowa's agricultural heritage, accepts economically and financially self-sustaining farms and farmland.  Through the foundation's farm conservancy, these farms and farmland are saved in perpetuity for agricultural purposes according to the owner's wishes.

We need your help to preserve Iowa's barns!  All of the funds to rehabilitate and restore Iowa's barns come solely from private donations.  Make a donation or become a member of the Iowa Barn Foundation today!

Preservation Alerts

(Watch this space for news about historic barns and other important agricultural buildings in Iowa that desperately need your help).

Read a newspaper account of the scheduled dismantling of a barn in September 2013 Ames Tribune.

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Check our Message Board.

Kenneth Ruegsegger, Mount Pleasant

There are those who give their lives trying to make a better society. Kenneth Ruesegger, Mount Pleasant , was one of those. His passing last week was a loss to Iowa, to barns, to America. He was one of those hard working people generous of spirit.

He and his wife, Marilyn, attended a barn tour and saw that signage was minimal. An expert in carpentry, the offered to make signs and take them around the state. So, for many years, Joe created the beautiful directional signs, and he and Marilyn drove from corner to corner of the state personally delivering the handmade signs to owners of barns on tour. It was a huge job--a labor of love.

These were special people who gave time, talent and effort to enrich the Iowa Barn Foundation--to enrich Iowa.

We'll still see some of those lovely signs. And, we will still stop and think of the wonderful couple who dedicated so much time to make the tour, Iowa, even better. We will always be grateful. Thank you, Marilyn and Ken.

Jacqueline Andre Schmeal, President Emeritus

Jason Zabokrsky, Troy Mills, wrote:

"Barns symbolize the agricultural heritage of those who founded the state of Iowa. That agricultural heritage is synonymous with important values. These values include dedication to hard work, honesty, integrity, family, and community...

...As barns are destroyed a valuable part of our heritage is also lost. If Iowans lost these historic barns from the landscape, one may posit that Iowans will begin to lose sight of the important values of hard work, honesty, integrity, family, and community which they represent."

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