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This is the southwest corner of the barn, also showing the foundation. It is a large barn, 95 feet X 40 to 45 with a full walkout basement. The foundation of the basement is split rock and mortar.
A wood board in the barn is carved in Norwegian script -- "This building is built by Jens Russell of Cambridge in year 1875". Ole hired Jens Russell, a local carpenter, to construct "the largest and finest barn in the township" located on the highest point on the farm.
The article below appears in the IBF Magazine, Fall 2019
Driving up or down I-35 south of Ames, watch for the sign for Highway 210. Slow down and turn east on Highway 210. Dotting the landscape, you will see this magnificent historic barn that holds within the story of generations of a family dedicated to preserving it.
Because of this dedication, the barn is one of Iowa's historic treasures. The barn, which sits on a Norwegian settlement, was built by Jens Russell for Norwegian immigrant, Ole Apland in 1875. The barn has remained in the family.
A few decades ago the barn was in fragile condition. Flora Freeland was elderly, but she was determined to get it painted and did. She was very proud of the barn. When she died, the family sold some of the land and had many discussions about the fate of the barn.
Last year the family decided to bring it back it its glory so we can all think about Jens Russell and the old Norwegian settlement. The walnut structural beams remain. This barn is also mentioned in our article (see below) on markings in barns. Dates are carved into the barn.
Excerpt from the IBF Magazine, Fall 2019 -- Do You Have Hidden Markings in Your Barn?
The Apland barn [on the cover of the IBF Magazine] has many hidden treasures inside. There is a carving giving the carpenter's name—Jens Russell—and the year the barn was built—1875.
There are also markings on the beams to indicate where they should be attached, and some markings that show the tool used.
There are also personalized markings that were added through the years. The names of milking cows are carved into a door in the basement. There is a carving of an owl. And, one of the early owners wrote some favorite Bible verses.
The barn is owned by Esther Johnsen, Mark Freeland, Margaret Nelson, and Kris and Stephen Hostetter.
Photos supplied by owner, Aug 2019