Barns in Jackson and Clinton Counties were on tour Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The self-guided tour, sponsored by the Iowa Barn Foundation, was free and opened to the public.
The annual June Iowa Barn Foundation area tour highlights barns in different counties each year.
A picnic lunch was served at noon on Saturday at the farm of Dan and Jolene Witt, which the Witts purchased in 1980. Jolene writes, "Our address is 4010 220th Street, Clinton IA. We are in Clinton County two miles east of Elvira or 4 miles west of 19th St and the Parkway in Clinton. Coming from Hwy 30, take the Low Moor/Elvira exit and go north to the town of Elvira, then go 2 miles east to arrive at the Witt Farm."
Reservations for the picnic can be made by sending a check for $10 per meal, made out to the Iowa Barn Foundation, to: Ann Harvey, 3835 34th Street, Des Moines, IA 50310.
Scroll down to see a map of the Spring Tour
DYAS OCTAGON BARN (Photo by Lavonne House)
Dyas Octagonal Barn was built by Edward Samuel Dyas in 1920. His father, Robert, developed the land he called Christian Valley into five farms, one for each son. The land was known as "The E.S. Dyas and Sons Riverview Farms". The barn is 50-feet in diameter. The roof with its central cedar silo is self-supporting. The barn is on the National Register of Historic Places (see NRHP web page).
From the National Register application: "One of four known round barns with an original flat or near flat roof built on an Iowa farm. Built during the peak construction years for round barns and the period of most frequent experimental design variation, 1910-1920, this barn reveals the great variety and personal expression found within the round barn thematic group."
Directions: 41279 243rd Street. Barn is on the south edge of Bellevue just off Highway 52.
Jackson County Poor Farm and Insane Asylum. This Poor Farm building was built in 1870 from locally quarried limestone, to shelter people who were labeled "incurably insane" by the state. (The Poor Farm consisted of 160 acres when it was purchased by Jackson County for $6000 in 1858). In 1883 a large brick residential home was completed across the road and for a time the stone Asylum was used as a schoolhouse, and orphaned children were kept in the upper level in barred cells, which can still be seen on the upper level. See more photos of this barn here.
The Poor Farm in early years was self sufficient, then later the land was rented out. Smaller animals were raised and then sold. According to a story dated Oct 28,1911, this stone building was completely converted into agricultural use - the second floor was cemented and used as a hog house. It was quite a spectacle to see pigs run up and down a ramp on the outside of the building! A story in the Quad City Times, August 6, 1975, described the raising of chicken and rabbits on the first floor.
This multi-use bldg was restored in 1993. A reconstructed stairway was installed in 2016. It is on the NRHP, is one of Iowa's Great Places, and is the only building that remains of the Jackson County Poor Farm.
Directions: Barn is northwest of Andrew, on the eastern side of 250th Ave (County Road Y61).
FOWLERS' HILLCREST BARN (Photo by Lavonne House)
Fowlers' Hillcrest Barn. Barn was built in 1940 by Gus Klemme, well-known area barn builder. It has four-inch tongue and groove siding and original milking stanchion and horse stalls. Pine rafters were handcrafted using a jig on the floor of the haymow. It has post and beam construction.
Directions: 2715 100th Street, Maquoketa. Go five miles east of Maquoketa on IA 64 (or 10 miles west of Preston). Turn south on 288th Avenue, travel to 100th Street, and turn right. Barn is to the left on Hillcrest.
THE STEWART FAMILY BARN (Photo by Lavonne House)
Stewart Family Barn is a Civil War barn and is a good example of primitive construction. It is wooden pegged and has numerous timber beams. Tree branches placed side-by-side created a floor for loose hay. The barn has been in the Stewart family for 150 years. Former state senator, Roger Stewart and his family received the Heritage Farm Award in 2016.
Directions: 3936 317th Avenue, Preston. Go eight miles east of Maquoketa on IA 64 or seven miles west of Preston. Turn north on 317th Avenue. Travel one mile. Barn is on the left.
TRENKAMP’S “LONE RANGER” BARN (Photos by Lavonne House)
Trenkamp's "Lone Ranger" Barn is a large (40x80 feet) wainscoted-sided horse and dairy barn built in 1926. The farm was known in the past for a large outdoor lighted Christmas display. Floodlights on life-size cutouts of Lone Ranger and Tonto standing in the yard cast a traffic-stopping forty-foot silhouette of the Lone Ranger on the side of the barn. The milking room is still in tact. The family filled stanchions three times each morning and night to milk their prized herd of 75 Holstein cows.
Directions: 893 450th Avenue, Preston. Go one mile east of Preston on IA 64 and turn right on 450th Avenue. Travel one mile; barn is on the left.
The Stromeyer Barn was built by brothers Henry, Otto, and William F.H Stromeyer using hand-sawed lumber from native cottonwood trees. It included 12 wooden milking stanchions, hayloft, and area for workhorses. There are seven natural, unhewn timber beams and remnants of a recycled split-rail fence that help to support the hayloft. The barn has 96 windowpanes and forty doors. It has always been painted gray with white trim and hay hood at each end to complement the high peaks. See more photos of this barn here.
Directions: 37647 Iron Bridge Road, Spragueville. Go west of Preston on IA 64, then turn north on CR Z20 to Spragueville, where you turn left (west) onto Iron Bridge Road (CR E23Y).
Leo McGarry Barn
McGarry Barn, a lovely bank barn, was built in 1884 by Leo McGarry's great grandfather, John. It has housed livestock and stored hay for 130 years.
Directions: 2158 330th Avenue, DeWitt. Take 220th St (CR F12) about five miles west of Elvira, then turn north on 330th Avenue (CR Z24).
Chad & Jena Petersen Barn
Chad & Jena Petersen Barn Corn Crib
The Chad & Jena Petersen Barn is a large hip roof barn, built around 1900 by local builder Buzzy Wiese. The barn is 56 x 75 and housed hogs, cattle, hay and straw. Today it's used for 4-H calves and pigs.
The corn crib was added in 1959. The 20 x 40 oval shaped over head wood bins hold 4000 bushels. Side storage for ear corn holds 5200 bushels.
Chad & Jena purchased the acreage in 2004 from Jim & Joanne McGuire who farmed the land for over 40 years.
Directions: 2192 345th Avenue, Dewitt. Take 220th St (CR F12) about four miles west of Elvira, then turn north on 345th Avenue.
Cousins Barn was built in the early 1900s and has been used for livestock feeding through the years.
Directions: 2854 262nd Street, DeWitt. It is on the east side of Highway 61. Follow IA Y68 (old US 61) to just south of the US 30 interchange, then turn east onto 262nd Street.
Geffers Barn, was built in early 1900s by Hugo Geffers for cattle and hogs. Along with the barn there is an elevator corn crib which was built sometime later.
Directions: 2130 190th Street, Grand Mound. Four miles west of Welton on 190th St (CR E63, which crosses US 61 at the south end of Welton).
Key to map: 1-Dyas Barn, 2-Poor farm, 3-Fowlers Barn, 4-Stewart Barn, 5-Trenkamp Barn, 6-Stromeyer Barn, 7-McGarry Barn, 8-Petersen Barn, 9-Cousins Barn, 10-Geffers Barn. The Picnic will be at the Witt Barn in Elvira on Saturday.
Go to the Iowa DOT map, then click on a County.