2015 Spring Barn Tour

2015 Spring Barn Tour - Iowa Barn Foundation

Spring Barn Tour (2015) by Iowa Barn Foundation

2015 Spring Barn Tour, June 13 & 14, 2015

Black Hawk, Butler, Grundy, Hardin and Bremer Counties

Historic and special barns in Black Hawk, Butler, Grundy, Hardin and Bremer counties will be featured on the Iowa Barn Foundation's spring area tour.  The self-guided tour, free and opened to the public, will be held Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 Hamann barn

The Iowa Barn Foundation, a non-profit, was founded in 1997 and is dedicated to encouraging the knowledge and preservation of Iowa barns, symbols of the state's rich agricultural heritage.

Lunch will be served Saturday at the magnificent Hamann barn, 21461 240th Street, Grundy Center.  The landmark barn is on the west edge of town and on the north side of Highways 14 and 175.  The cost of the lunch is $11 per person.

For reservations for the lunch, send a check, made out to the Iowa Barn Foundation, to Mindy Hamann, 21461 240th Street, Grundy Center, 50638.  Checks must be received by June 8.

A program on post and beam construction, restoration, and maintenance will be presented at the Hamman barn at 1:00 P.M. on the Saturday, June 13.  Scroll down to learn more about the Hamman barn.

This tour was organized by Tom Lawler, Mindy Hamann, and Meinard Koop.

See the Spring Barn Tour 2015 Report submitted by Thomas A. Lawler (PDF).


The tour will feature the following barns:

Hardin County Farm Museum, 203 Washington Street, Eldora (Hardin County)
Hardin County Farm Museum barn

The Robert and Barbara Brown family donated two acres of ground to the Hardin County Farm Museum in 1996.  On the two acres are a barn, corn crib, silo, and two machine sheds.

A focal point is the large (32x80 feet) round-roofed barn which was built in the late 1930s and used primarily for dairy.  Round roofs on barns became popular in the 1920s and were often built between the two world wars.  The round roof barn provided more storage area in the loft than those with other roof styles.   (The Old Barn Book, ld.)

The museum is now also home to a chicken brooder house and Goose Creek rural school house, built in 1882.  Nine additional acres have been added to raise oats for threshing and corn for hand harvesting.  About 90 pieces of large farm machinery and some 400 smaller antiques can be found on the farm.

Directions: Take Highway 175 into Eldora and turn north on Washington Street (stop light). Go north to 203 N. Washington Street.  Website: http://eldoraiowa.com/city-information/events-attractions/farm-museum/

For a photo view of the barn using Google Maps, click here.


Rownd barn, 4119 S. Main Street Road, Cedar Falls. (Black Hawk County)

Built by Samuel H. Rownd, Sr., about 1860, this barn is a good example of a German bank barn.  Built into a bank, this site allowed for a two story barn with access to the upper level being a driveway on the higher side of the bank.  Rownd moved to the Cedar Falls area in 1859 when the town was still a collection of log homes.  He began purchasing farmland in the area in 1851 and with his sons eventually owned 7000 acres, including the land on which the University of Northern Iowa was built.

Besides the bank feature of the barn, the doors, being on the sides rather than on the ends, are another feature of the German bank barn.

German bank barns can be traced to southern Germany and eventually to southeastern Pennsylvania at the end of the seventeenth century.  The design continued west into Ohio.   (The Old Barn Book . Noble and Cleek, Rutgers University Press, 1995.)

Rownd was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania and lived in Ohio until moving to Cedar Falls.  Thus, he was familiar with German bank barns when he was building the barn on Main Street.  The Rownd family retained ownership of the property until 1945.

Directions: At the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and Highway 58, turn north on Highway 58 and travel 2.3 miles to Greenhill Road, then east about 0.3 miles to South Main street (stop light). Turn left or north on South Main Street. The barn, at 4119 is in the first block on the west side of the street.


Round Rownd barn, 5118 South Main Street, Cedar Falls. (Black Hawk County)
 Round Rownd barn

The Round Rownd barn is on the National Registry and is on the site of Western Homes' Windgrace and Windemere independent living residences.  This round barn is built of concrete blocks and has an aerator and a two-pitch roof.  It was built in 1911 by the Samuel Rownd family who built the barn at 4119 Main Street.  It is a true round barn--not octagonal.

(Click on the photo to see a larger version - courtesy of Dale Travis - see his website at http://www.dalejtravis.com/.)

Round barns began as octagonal barns introduced by Elliott Steward in 1874,.  In the early 1900s agricultural engineers at Iowa State University developed hollow curved tiles to create round barns and silos . Wilbur Franzen's publication, "Economy of the Round Dairy Barn" (1910) encouraged the popularity of round barns, most of which were constructed by 1930.   (Diane Langton in "Cedar Rapids Gazette", April 25, 2014)

Lowell Soike's book, Without Right Angles, (Penfield Press) describes most of the round barns in Iowa.

Directions: From the intersection of US 20 and Highway 58, go north about 2.3 miles to Greenhill Road. Turn east on Greenhill Road about 0.3 miles to South Main Street (stop light), then right or south on South Main 0.5 miles to 5118 South Main.


The Hamann barn, 21461 240th Street, Grundy Center (Grundy County)
 Hamann barn

This is a landmark barn built in 1907.  It was known as the Worthwhile Frost dairy barn and was constructed using the post and beam style.  Dowels or wooden pins connect the beams to the post.

The adjoining silo was constructed after the top window and the roof structure were completed.   (Click on the photo to see more.)

Directions: The Hamann barn is on the west edge of Grundy Center on the north side of 240th Street (local name for Highways 14 and 175).


The Miller barn, 310 20th Street, SW, Waverly (Bremer County)

This interesting barn was constructed in 1913 by brothers W.H. and Gilbert Miller.  This large barn served as a dairy, horse, and cattle barn.  The construction style is post and beam, sometimes referred to as a box frame, and was constructed with locally grown cedar and oak.  Vertical structural members are posts and horizontal members are beams.  Beams at the base of the wall are called sills.  Beams at the top of the walls, at the eaves, are called plates.  Other beams are called girts.  Beams connecting front and back walls are tie beams.  Posts are identified by their location: corner posts, end posts, side posts, and interior posts.   (The Old Barn Book, Noble and Cleek, Rutgers University Press.).

The Millers milked Guernsey cows in the barn.  They went house to house selling some of the milk.  The balance was sent to a Carnation condensed milk production facility in Waverly where Carnation Milk Products Company began producing condensed milk in 1928.

The Millers kept three teams of French Percheron horses in the barn until 1948 when they were replaced by tractors.  Beef cattle were also housed and fed in the barn.

Employees of Trillium Dell Timberworks will be at the barn to explain post and beam construction, maintenance, and restoration.

Directions: The Miller barn is on highway 3 on the west edge of Waverly. It is south of Redeemer Lutheran Church, east of CUNA Mutual campus, and west of Bremwood and Lutheran Services of Iowa.


Destival barn, 1350 260th Street, Waverly (Bremer County)
 Destival Round barn

The Destival barn is a true round barn as opposed to a multi-sided barn.  It is made with round clay tile, a process developed by Iowa State agricultural engineers.  There is a silo in the middle of the barn also made from clay tile.  The silo allowed feed to be accessed close to the feeding location.

The Destival barn was used for dairy, and the stanchions are still in place as well as four pens for holding calves.  The roof has two pitches making more storage room in the loft.

(Click on the photo to see a larger version - courtesy of Dale Travis - see his website at http://www.dalejtravis.com/.)

Directions: The Destival barn is located west of Highway 218/27 on 260th Street (north of Janesville and south of Waverly). Drive west on 260th Street about 3/4 mile. barn is on south side of 260th Street.


Stukenburg Barn, 18554 Hwy 57, Aplington (Butler County)

This barn is built of solid concrete from the foundation to the eaves.  The builders then covered the concrete with mesh and applied stucco.  The barn was built by Charles Wilke, a local carpenter, in 1900.  He built a similar, but smaller, barn a mile south of this barn which was destroyed by wind.

Directions: The stucco barn is located on Hwy 57 west of Parkersburg and east of Aplington.

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