The Barns of Franklin County

Originally published in the Fall 2005 issue of the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine.
Written by Joe Pitsor, the Iowa Barn Foundation's Franklin County representative

In 1900 there were two to four barns per section in Franklin County, which would total 1,800 to 2,200. Many of these barns have been razed during the past 30 years. But, farm owners are restoring and finding uses for some of the older barns. The Iowa Barn Foundation has awarded grants to help with this restoration and inspired other owners, through the media, regarding the importance of barn restoration.

Klousia Barn: This bank barn was built in 1888 by ancestors of owner, John Klousia. This barn is on a limestone foundation with wood peg construction. The lower level is a walkout basement to the east. The middle section had stanchions for milk cows and the north side held three calf pens. The upper level was used for hay and grain storage with some machinery storage in the two drive-in areas. The barn received an Iowa Barn Foundation matching grant for restoration. Location: (The barn is northeast of Hampton at 1766 165th Street.)

Ranken Barn: This round barn, 122 feet in diameter, was built in 1916. It was built of clay tile with a 20-foot silo in the center. Originally the flat roof was suspended by cables from the silo without interior posts. Over time, posts have been added to the interior to support the roof. The barn was designed to feed 300 to 500 head of cattle. It was later modified for hog production. The barn, on the National Register of Historic Places, is owned and cared for by Mr. and Mrs. James Ranken. Location: (Barn is in southern Franklin County at 1380 Harden Street (Highway 57)).

Schermer Barn: The original construction cost of this 61x45-foot wood peg barn was $747 for material and $400 for labor-with the help of 10 neighbors. The barn's horse stalls are still in use; hay and grain are still stored in the barn. There is a unique wooden elevator used to fill the overhead grain bins. The owners, Brian and Bill Schermer, received an Award of Distinction from the Iowa Barn Foundation. Location: (The barn is located north of Latimer at 1922 Grouse Avenue.)

Bennett Barn: This barn, built in 1950, has original stanchions, water drinking cups, chain manure carrier, and calf pens. Henning Construction, Latimer, built the barn using a unique laminated rafter permitting a post free hay mow. The barn, which received an Iowa Barn Foundation matching grant, is owned by Gary and Diane Bennett. Location: (The barn is at 1664 Eagle Avenue, northwest of Latimer.)

Artley Barn: Amos Artley built this barn, originally used for horses and hay storage, in the early 1900's. Bob Artley, rural artist and writer, grew up on this farm and has featured the barn in his books and cartoons. It is on the cover of his book, Once upon a Farm. The barn is owned by Mr. and Mrs. David Artley and received an Iowa Barn Foundation Award of Distinction. Location: (Barn is located northwest of Hampton at 1475 Killdeer Avenue.)

Dodd Barn: Ernest Aldinger built this barn in 1935. He and his two brothers each built a set of farm buildings within a mile of each other. The barn, owned by Aaron and Shayna Dodd, received an Iowa Barn Foundation grant for restoration. Location: (Barn is located southeast of Hampton at 1854 40th Street.)

Pitsor Barn: The 30x60-foot main section of this barn was built by Joseph Bobst around 1868 and contains axe hewn beams and early sawing of dimension lumber. When Joseph Bobst died in 1879, he owned and farmed 3,620 acres. In 1919, a 20x60 foot west section was added for horses, and the ground level middle section was remodeled for a dairy operation. A 24x60 foot cattle feeding section was added to the east side of the barn b George Pitsor in 1949. The barn, owned by Joe and Shirley Pitsor, has received an Iowa Barn Foundation Award of Distinction. Location: (Barn is located north of Hampton at 1476 190th Street.)

Hackbarth Barn: This historic bank barn reflects the influence of Pennsylvania Dutch architecture. It was constructed about 1870. Large beams were installed to support the front of the barn; wood peg construction is used throughout. The barn was originally used for hay and grain storage along with shelter for dairy cows and horses. The barn is owned by the Hackbarth-Knoll family and was built by their great, great grandfather. Location: (The barn is north of Ackley at 770 Franklin Avenue.)

Borcherding Barn: Beautiful barn was built in 1921 by Carl Borcherding, who dreamed of giving his sons, Carl and Ed, a place to live after they were married. They lived on the farm with their families until they died. Ivan Borcherding, great grandson of Carl Sr., bought the farm back in December, 2004, in order to keep their heritage alive. Ivan, his son, Rex, and granddaughter, Lacey, are working to keep the heritage alive. Location: (Barn is located west of Hampton at 1034 Highway 3.)

Rodemeyer Barn: This barn was built in 1915 by the father of present owners, Marvin and Patty Rodemeyer. The all block barn has unique steel window and door frames. Originally there were stanchions for 12 cows, stalls for four horses, a steer pen, calf pen, feed bin and milk separating room. Location: (The barn is located southwest of Hampton at 1205 Lark Avenue.)