The barn originally was built in 1895 in Germanville, a small area north east of Fairfield, Iowa. Most of the white oak frame-work beams are sawn but some have been hand hewn, and originated from 1895. The original dimensions of the barn remained per 1895 specs. The barn was built mainly for loose hay storage and to house a few animals.
It was given to me in the winter of 2000 and dismantled in the winter of 2001 by a local Amish contractor and his crew whom are also neighbors. Each beam was tagged and corresponding blueprints made. On December 31, 2001, I received a phone call stating the crew planned on starting on the barn the next day. Reassembly started on January 1st and finished by the end of the month. What an amazing process!
Since the bottoms of the upright posts were cut off because they had rotted from manure and such, the height of the barn would not be the same as the original. So to compensate for this, short concrete piers were molded into the new concrete floor prepared for this barn, in addition to the sill around the perimeter. You can see these in a few of the photos.
The sheathing boards on the roof were no longer safe, so they were replaced with modern boards. A metal roof replaces the original shakes. The cupolas were assembled on the ground, but had to be taken apart in order to get them up to the roof using ropes and block and tackle, all by hand.
Most of our English neighbors thought we were nuts for putting this much effort into an old barn.
As the last day of assembling the frame came to a close, it was found that all of the original pins that held the barn together had been used and there were not enough to finish. The original pins had been driven out with a 3/4inch shaft and several had shattered in the process. The next morning one of the fellows came to work carrying a five gallon bucket of new pins. As his father had built and repaired buggies for years, he had an ample supply of old wooden buggy wheels laying around so he made pins out of the old spokes!
We had a portable sawmill come to the farm and we cut lumber for the hay mow floor, gates, and interior walls. All of the original siding had been removed before I obtained it, so new rough-cut pine siding was used. Parts of the barn that would deteriorate due to use or the elements, were replaced. Others, re-used.
The barn was moved and preserved using all original material that could be used. We were able to reuse the Loudon hay track and trolley.
The barn is open for special events and barn tours sponsored by The Villages of Van Buren. The people always love it when I point out the buggy spokes! And it is due for a new coat of paint. - Brad Klodt.
Photos by Jeffrey Fitz-Randolph, July 10, 2013, and Oct 11, 2014 (Klodt Barn)