Iowa Barn Foundation

Iowa Barn Foundation

21 Years of Working To Preserve Iowa's Barns

19th Annual All-State Tour will be held on Sept 28 & 29, 2019 - details available late July 2019.

See the 18th Annual All-State Tour on our website here   (held Sept 22 & 23, 2018).

2019 Spring Barn Tour will be held on June 22 & 23, 2019. Watch for more information.

Rimathe Barn

Note to IBF Members - 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

(Jan 29, 2019) Heritage on the Prairie, A BOOK ON IOWA BARNS, AVAILABLE.

Heritage on the Prairie, a colorful book featuring photographs and brief histories of Iowa barns, has been published by the Iowa Barn Foundation and is now available.

The foundation, founded in 1997, is an all-state non-profit group dedicated to preserving Iowa's barns. The foundation has awarded matching grants to about 150 barns throughout the state.

Dedicated to barn preservation, photographers, writers, editor, and assistants were all volunteers who donated their expertise to the creation of the book. Several of the photographers and writers are professionals.

The foundation raises money and gives grants to property owners throughout the state. The book features photographs of some of these barns. Some are on the foundation's annual fall tour featuring barns that have received grants or been restored by the owner.

The cost of the book is $29 plus $5 if it is shipped. Our Order Form (a PDF) for the Heritage on the Prairie book can be downloaded, printed, and sent to us. (Or call Roxanne Mehlisch, Iowa Barn Foundation board member, at 641 487-7690).

Any income from the sale of books will go into the foundation's barn preservation fund.

The foundation is grateful to Theresa Zaruba, account manager, J and A Printing, Inc., Hiawatha, Iowa, and Deanna Roberts, Letter, Type and Design, Marion, who went above and beyond in printing the book. They worked to make it an attractive book that would be enduring.

Robinson Barn, featured in Heritage on the Prairie.
Robinson Barn

[Excerpt from the introduction] "For over 300 years, from 1650 to 1950, the American all-purpose barn, usually the most prominent building on a farm, was the center of hard work focused on making a livelihood from raising crops and animals. So important was the barn that it was often built before the house. Sometimes the family lived in the barn until the house was built."

"It is important that Iowans save historic barns. They offer us a sense of place as a “Cathedral on the Prairie.” Fortunately, for barn enthusiasts and historians, many farmers are willing to ignore profitability in the interest of tradition and heritage to maintain their barns heritage. The photographers, editor, writer, and assistants who contributed to this book were all volunteers dedicated to saving important symbols of Iowa’s agricultural heritage."


(July 19, 2018) 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.


Our booth at the 2017 Iowa State Fair, Aug 10 thru Aug 20, 2017 (and 2018)

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 -

State Fair display


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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Go to the Iowa DOT map, then click on a County.
Iowa State Map

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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