America appears to be at a crossroads, but Iowa's stately and proud barns remain, symbols of old America.
Immerse yourself in this world on the annual self-guided barn tour sponsored by the Iowa Barn Foundation (held September 26 & 27, 2020, but you can see it here).
Barns on the Tour were awarded restoration grants by the Iowa Barn Foundation because of their importance historically or architecturally.
Other important barns restored by owners are on the Tour. The Iowa Barn Foundation is an all-state, primarily all-volunteer, non-profit group that was founded in 1997 in order to preserve Iowa's rural heritage.
(For information about the tour, please call Roxanne Mehlisch, 641-487-7690).
Note - Since conditions change, some photos may not show the current state of a particular barn.
Jones barn, 2138 Verdin Avenue, Ocheyedan (Osceola County) - From US 59, turn east onto A34 (220th St) and go 9 miles to Verdin Ave. Turn north on gravel. Barn is ½ mile north on east side of road - One of the largest barns in the area, it was built in 1917 and is unusual. More photos here.
(New) Buyert barn, 3387 Grant Ave, Hull (Sioux County) - From the intersection of US 18 and US 75, go south on US 75 for about 2 miles, then turn right (west) onto 340th St, then turn right onto Grant Ave. This turn of the century barn has been in the family for sixty years. Some of the original paint remains on the barn. It was a dairy barn transformed to a cattle barn.
Hansen Crib, 4015-340th Avenue, Ruthven (Clay County) - From Ruthven, take N18 south to 340th Ave. One-of-a-kind landmark corncrib, built in 1940's, holds 7000 bushels of ear corn and 4000 bushels of small grain. In middle of crib is a bucket system that transports ear corn to the top of the corncrib and releases it into multiple outlets. Grandfather of owner died when owner's father was 18 and he had to take over farm.
Wigdahl barn, 4030 360th Avenue, Ruthven (Palo Alto County) – From Ruthven, go 1 mile east on US 18 (360th St), then turn right (south) onto 360th Ave, and go 4.25 miles. The barn was built in the 1930’s, 34x64 feet, with red clay tile along the bottom. Two brothers designed a running water system, and milk machines to milk the cows, all without electricity. Later the floor was cemented and the entire barn was converted to farrowing and feeding pigs. More of the story.
Harvey barn, 4516 190th Street, Estherville (Emmet County) - Take IA 9 through Gruver. Turn south on N40. Go two miles. Turn east 3/4-mile. Farm was homesteaded in 1899. Dan Harvey's great grandparents built the barn in 1927.
Clancy Barn, 1866 Marengo, Pomeroy (Calhoun County) - At the intersection of IA 4 and IA 7. The barn was built in 1948 by Lee and Maureen Olson, along with local carpenter George Julifs. Maureen and Lee put pieces of the barn together in the machine shed prior to erection of the building. In 1962 the farm was purchased by Leo and Geraldine Clancy of Pomeroy. Geraldine and Maureen Olson were sisters. Leo Clancy was one of the charter members of the Iowa Charolais Association, formed in 1961. Leo also served as the Charolais superintendent at the Iowa State Fair for 25 years. More text and photos here.
Ellis barn, 2370 Fletcher Avenue, Lytton (Calhoun County) - The barn is three miles east and 2.5 miles north of Lytton. Landmark red barn, used to raise Red Rock Arabians, is called the "big red barn" by locals. It was built in 1918 and is 40 feet high to the eaves. It has 3x12-inch timbers. Another photo here.
Hinderaker barn, 2698 Jaguar Trail, Guthrie Center (Guthrie County) - From Guthrie Center, go west on IA 44 for three miles. Turn left on Jaguar Trail and go 4.5 miles south. The original barn was built at the turn of the century. It burned down in 1931, and the present barn was built. Another photo here.
(New) Murphy Barn, 59039 750th Street, Anita (Cass County) – South of Anita on IA 148. Sears barn built in 1953 and shipped to Iowa by train with the help of six teams of horses. (No photo available).
Vandewater barn (Meadow Brook Farm), 3100 270th Street, Orient (Adair County) - Between Greenfield and Winterset, on IA 92, take Vinton Avenue (P39) south. At 270th Street (G53), turn right (west). Go one mile west of Hebron Methodist Church. Barn was built by Henry Vandewater in 1911 and has been in the family since. It has notched beams, pegs, mortise and tendon joints and a memorable wooden cupola. More photos here.
(New) Taylor County Barn, 1001 Pollock Blvd, Bedford (Taylor County) - At the intersection of IA 2 and IA 18. Round barn was built by the Cameron family in 1906 near Lenox, originally used for storage and cattle. They donated it to Taylor County Historical Society, who moved it to the museum grounds in 1988. It is 64 feet in diameter and 55 feet in height. Round barns are very rare and are built for efficiency of space and to withstand harsh Iowa weather. It contains a working Louden overhead Litter Carrier. (Photos, including interiors, on National Park website - https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/99000490_photos), and the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES REGISTRATION FORM is here - https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/ba79a0f4-bd3e-444f-937e-b29d506723ba).
Haugen barn, 18446 420th Street, Leland (Winnebago County) - Go north out of Leland on US 69 to 420th Street (three miles), then turn right onto 420th (gravel). It is the first place on north side. Barn was built in 1915. In 1924 Peter Haugen enlarged it using a handsaw to split the barn in two. He then enlarged the middle. More photos here.
Chizek Barn, 1665 250th Street, Garner (Hancock County) - Go west out of Garner on US 18 to US 69, then turn north on US 69, and go one mile. Then turn left (east) onto 250th St. Barn built by Albert Chizek, owner's grandfather, in 1942. It has an open loft area. See Sioux City Journal newspaper article.
Rory Friedow Barn, 1680 Ladd Avenue, Kanawha (Hancock County) - Seven miles west of Klemme (US 69) on B55 (170 th St), then ¼ mile south on Ladd Ave. Floyd Friedow built the barn and hog house in 1925. He and his three sons (Doyce, Verlyn & Milton) were widely known for their quality Poland China hogs. In 1955 they sent breeding stock to a farm in Cuba via train & airplane. The barn which originally housed dairy cattle and draft horses, is now home to sheep, goats and barn cats. The farmstead has been continually occupied by the Friedow family. More photos here.
Dodd barn, 1854 40th Street, Ackley (Franklin County) - Travel four miles west of Ackley on IA 57. Turn north on S55 for two miles to 40th Street. Go 1/2-mile west. Barn was built by Ernest Aldinger, one of three Aldinger brothers who built farms within a mile of each other. Another photo here.
(NEW) Rand Faaborg, 3490 370th St, Radcliffe (Hamilton County) – From I-35, near Randall, go east on D65, then north on R77 (Young Ave), then east on 370th St. This beautiful cattle barn was built in 1950. It is called a bank barn where the north end is lower than the south end so you can back in to load cattle. It was damaged by the tornado in 2018 and has recently been restored. More photos here.
Boriskey Barn, 2115 230th Street, Marshalltown (Marshall County) - At intersection of US 30 and IA 330, go north on IA 330 for 1.3 miles and turn left onto short gravel drive that crosses to county road E41 (230th Street). Turn left again (west) and go 0.7 miles. Barn is on the right (north). Barn known as "long horse barn on 30" was manufactured by Super Structures, Albert Lea, and built in 1958. Has laminated curved rafters. Native lumber in horse stalls. More photos here.
Pfantz Barn, 201 4th Avenue NE., State Center (Marshall County) - From US 30, go into State Center. Fourth Street is on north side of railroad tracks. Barn is behind Victorian house. Unique horse barn was built in 1902 for Craig Pfantz's great-grandfather, well-known horse broker. The barn has such unique features as handmade screens and a milk cellar. Note the balloon rafters. More photos here.
Dobbin Round barn, 2551 Brown Avenue, State Center (Marshall County) - From State Center, go west one mile to Cooper Avenue (S52), and turn south. Turn right (west) onto 255th St, then left onto Brown Ave. The 1917 barn was a pre-cut structure designed and made to order by Gordon Van Tine, Davenport, for $6000. Carpenters like Ike Ingersol and Amos Thompson assembled the numbered pieces into the 65-foot diameter barn with silo in the middle. More photos here.
Buck barn, 1271 285th Street, State Center (Marshall County) - From State Center, go west one mile to Cooper Avenue (S52). Go 4.5 miles south to 285th Street. Turn left on gravel. Barn is at first place on left. Barn is an example of how a potential tear-down can be turned into a jewel. It has a wonderful cupola. More photos here.
Twedt barn, 63645 160th Street, Nevada (Story County) - From junction of E41 (Old US Highway 30) and S14 in Nevada, go north on S14 six miles to 160th Street. Turn east onto 160th St, then go 1.5 miles. This barn has 40 two-ply laminate rafters to support its rounded roof so the hayloft is free of posts and beams. Farm was once owned by Hoyt Sherman, brother of the Civil War general. This is an example of how a small barn can highlight a farm. More photos here.
Rimathe Barn, 51349 Highway 210, Slater (Story County) - It's the first farm east of Slater on IA Highway 210. This 30x50 foot barn has been used and beloved by the family since it was built in 1929 by the owner's uncle. The barn was in tough shape after a tornado, but owner, Wayne Rimathe, at great effort, recently restored it. Click here to read more of the story.
Robert & Carla Uetz Barn, 2011-180th Street, Boone (Boone County) - From US 30, take IA 17 north for five miles (curves and stop signs). Go right (east) at 180th Street one mile just past U Ave. Uniquely framed 36' x 50' barn with large lost was built in 1928 by William Smalley for teams and small dairy herd. Original overhead manure removal system still in place. Another photo here.
McBroom-Hargis barn, 1218 Highway 169, Winterset (Madison County) - Barn is five miles south of I-80 (Adel, De Soto, Winterset exit), on US 169. Article in Madison County paper (1884) discussed this barn, "It would be the largest barn in this part of the county." It has a wooden track, post and beam, pegs and was designed by I.F. Carter of De Soto. More photos here.
Gillespie Barn, 1257 Highway IA 92, Winterset (Madison County). Barn was built in 1874 by W.W. George. The property has been in the same family since 1870. It is located on Old Bluff Road which carried early settlers to Council Bluffs. Another photo here.
Kosman barn, 10611 240th Avenue, Weldon (Decatur County) - From Osceola, take US 69 south 10 miles to Clarke-Decatur Street (J12). Turn east and go one mile to first gravel road (240th St). Turn south - barn is second house on the west side (right). Barn, built in 1907, was the scene of large barn dances. Barn has always been used for horses and cows. More photos here.
Partridge barn, 32086 252th Street, Lineville (Decatur County) - From I-35, go east on IA 2 to Leon and continue another eight miles east of Leon to the intersection of IA 2 and County Road R69 (Woodland Road). Turn right onto Woodland Road and go 5.5 miles to 252nd Street (which is about a mile south of the old Woodland Town site at the intersection of J46). Turn left (east) onto 252th Street (the first left south of Woodland), and the barn is 1/4 mile down the road on the north side.; Barn (56x32) built in 1930 by William Massey who wanted the largest and fanciest barn in the area. It was built prior to the Depression, and he lost the farm. Blocks delivered by train from Lineville. From there it was 10 miles by horse and wagon. Barn is in beautiful area. Click here for a map and photos.
Birkedal barn, 1145 330th St, Osage, (Mitchell County) – From Osage, go west on IA 9, then turn left (south) onto Balsam Ave (Cnty S70), then left (east) onto 330th Street. This beautiful old barn has been in the Birkedal family for 6 generations and is 7 miles north of Nora Springs. The large barn with the windmill near by are a landmark in the area. It was important to this family to restore the barn so future generations can have the same fond memories of countless family members who have grown up exploring, playing and working in the barn. The family has also been restoring the old farmhouse and will restore the corncrib as well. Another photo here.
Rockafellow barn, 4484 Echo Ave, St. Ansgar (Mitchell County) – From St. Ansgar, go north on US 218 for two miles, then turn left onto Echo Ave. The farm is the first right at 4484 Echo Ave. The barn is set on a limestone base. The 54-foot-by-40-foot bank barn has an earthen ramp to the upper level and its timber frame construction is connected with wooden pegs. See a newspaper article here. (From the sons - "We are looking for a buyer for the farm that will love and maintain the barn and all the buildings.")
Younker Family Heritage Farm barn, 25734 Hwy IA 57, Parkersburg (Butler County) - Three miles east of Parkersburg, on IA 57. This large (112'x30') barn has been in the same family since the barn was built in the late 1800's. Inside the barn is a 16'x24' wooden silo that was manufactured by the Indiana Silo company and was built around 1909. This landmark barn was recently lovingly restored by Eleanor Tostlebe Peterson and family. (Award of Distinction). See exterior and interior photos.
The Miller Barn, 310 20th Street SW, Waverly (Bremer County) - The Miller barn is on IA 3 on the west edge of downtown Waverly. It is south of Redeemer Lutheran Church, east of CUNA Mutual campus, and west of Bremwood and Lutheran Services of Iowa. This barn was built in 1914 by W.H Miller and his brother, Gilbert, and constructed with locally grown cedar and native oak. The Miller Guernsey Dairy was one of over 20 dairies in Bremer County from 1920 to 1940. The Miller dairy helped supply the local Carnation Company with milk for condensed milk. More of the story, and photos.
Mikesh barn, 2714 County Road A14, Decorah (Winneshiek County) - The barn is west of US 52, on County Hwy A14, close to the Minnesota/Iowa boundary. This dairy barn was believed to be built in the early 1900’s. It has been painstakingly restored in 2017/2018, by a mother and son who live on the property. They now use the barn for calves and small farm animals. More photos here.
Lea-Oakley barn, 2279 County Road W42, Decorah (Winneshiek County) - From IA 9, near the Decorah airport, turn south onto W42. Native limestone Norwegian barn was built by John Johnson in 1862. Original materials are intact. Barn has a gambrel roof with wooden shingles that was probably added at a later date. Original roof would have been a gable roof. It is a 2-story stone barn. More photos here.
Kolsrud Barn, 1243 Gjefle Drive, Waukon (Allamakee County) - From intersection of IA 9 and IA 76, one mile south of Waukon, travel 4.7 miles southeast on IA 76 toward Rossville. About 1.7 miles before Rossville turn left on Cardinal Road (gravel). Travel l.l mile curving to the north. Turn right onto Gjefle Drive (gravel) and follow it east and northeast for half a mile to the barn.. Known as Jacob Johnson/Clark, the Kolsrud barn was built in 1870. Jacob Johnson came from Norway and purchased the barn with 80 acres in 1862. He paid $500 for the farm. Timber used in barn from his farm. Rock quarried from 100 yards from barn location. He used oxen in building the barn. (Award of Distinction). Click here to see more photos and the story of this barn.
Hardt Barn, 26152 Kayak Road, Farmersburg (Clayton County) - From the intersection of US 18 and US 52, take US 52 south to Kayak Road, then go east on Kayak Road for about 0.6 mile. S.H.F. Schoulte built this barn in 1875 for his livestock. An innovative hay slide was one of the many labor saving devices implemented by Schoulte, which included the corn crib which was attached to one end of the barn. See the PDF for more details and photos. Also, see a "before" photo here.
Hayward Round barn, 1520 County Highway V37, Dysart (Tama County) - 3.5 miles north of Dysart on Cnty Hwy V37. Owner’s great-grandfather, Charles Hayward, purchased farm in 1881. Barn, built in 1916, is 66 feet in diameter. It may have been constructed by Johnston Brothers Clay Works, Ft. Dodge because of size of clay bricks used. Click here to read more of the story and see more photos. And see an online Des Moines Register article about this barn.
In addition, the Hayward Corn Crib will be open. The owner writes: “We know very little, for certain, about the building of the Corn Crib, except believe it was built at the same time, or shortly after the Round Barn, because of the materials used (hollow tile bricks) and the style in which it was built, typically used by Johnson Brick and the Works of Fort Dodge, and around the time that the barn was built (1917). We have been told by a number of people that this style of corn crib is very rare – in fact, it may be the only one of its kind”.
(New) Kishman Barn, 14918 X Ave, Cedar Falls, (Grundy County) - From Dike, go east on 160th St, then turn left (north) onto Cnty T65 (X Ave and Fredsville Ave). The Kishman barn was built in the mid 1800's as a dairy barn. This barn is still held up by the original rock foundation and has exceptionally long timber that constructed the frame, done with mortise and tenon joints.
Welter barn, 13725 X Avenue, Cedar Falls (Grundy County) - From Dike, go east on 160th St, then turn left (north) onto Cnty T65 (X Ave and Fredsville Ave). Original blueprints developed by Agricultural Engineering Department, Iowa State. It was built in 1947. Working farm was purchased in 1867 by Ole Johnson and has been in the same family since. More photos here.
(New) Frost Barn, 1745 E. Eagle Rd, Waterloo (Black Hawk County) - From La Porte City, take US 218 (La Porte Rd) north, then turn left (west) onto E Eagle Rd. Built approximately 1877, and this owner renovated it in 2018. Original use was horses and milk cows, but the barn now houses sheep. The walls are three-foot thick limestone at the base. (Award of Distinction). More photos and story here.
Dighton Round barn, 3344 120th Avenue, Coggon (Delaware County) - Take paved road (D62) going west out of Coggon (in Linn Cnty) for one mile to Quality Ridge Road. Turn north for 1.5 mile (Quality Ridge Road becomes 120th Ave). Round barn on National Register was built in 1914 by Rob Kirkpatrick, grandfather of owner. It is intricate. (Adopt-a-Barn Award). More photos here.
Jack Smith Barn,, 20922 Asbury Rd., Durango (Dubuque County) - From US 20 go north from Peosta on 5 Points Rd. Turn left on Asbury Rd to destination. The Smith barn was built in 1917 by a man named Jack Brehm. Mr. Brehm had a strong reputation in those days as being a real craftsman. Jack Smith’s great-great grandfather came to this site in 1853. Jack’s grandfather Joseph Smith operated a sawmill on the property and the frame for the barn came off the same place. Mr. Brehm arrived at the site in the spring of 1917 with the frame that had been prepared over the winter. The labor bill was five hundred dollars. Jack Brehm built several other barns in the Asbury area as well. A barn dance was held in the loft upon completion. Several neighbors signed their names that night in the northeast corner of the loft. (Award of Distinction). More photos and story here.
Kaufman Barn, 6206 Streff Road, St. Donatus (Dubuque County) - From St. Donatus, take US 52 north 2.2 miles, and then turn right (northeast) onto 291st Street (which turns into Streff Road), and travel 0.7 miles. Barn is on the right. (Note: website map programs may not be accurate for this barn). The 30x80-foot bank barn is an early Iowa barn which was recently restored. The farm was homesteaded in the 1850s. Barn has table roof, large rolling doors on a track, entirely constructed from wood. A dirt floor remains with its original milk stanchions, horse stalls, long beam construction. The haymow door slides down the front of the barn on a track suspended by two large counter weights. Two log structures and a stone house are on the property. The barn recently received an award from the Dubuque County Historical Society. (Award of Distinction). More photos here.
Steines barn, 36746 Bellevue-Cascade Road, Bellevue (Jackson County) - Go 1/2 mile west of Bellevue on IA 62. Turn right on Bellevue-Cascade Road (D61) and go 1.5 miles to barn. This simple, primitive barn was built in the early 1900s. (No photo available).
Engelke barn, 25379 297th Avenue, Bellevue (Jackson County) – Go 1/2 mile west of Bellevue on IA 62, then turn right on Bellevue-Cascade Road (D61) and turn right onto 297th Ave. The barn, which stands at the end of dead end road next to the county's rodeo grounds (297th Ave), was built about 1939. (No photo available).
Clasen barn, 25219 200th Street, Bellevue (Jackson County) - Follow IA 62 southwest from Bellevue, then turn right onto 200th Street. Wider-than-usual barn has bark on support timbers. Interior photo and more exteriors here.
Martin barn, 12578 222nd Avenue, Zwingle (Jackson County) – From Zwingle, take US 61 south about 3.5 miles to Otter Creek, then right (west) onto Bellevue-Cascade Road (IA-D61) and go four or five miles and cross a bridge. Turn left (south) on 126th Ave and go a half-mile to barn. Hand-pegged barn was built in 1880 and is 100x28 feet. Many inside features are hand-carved. Cement stands for draft horses have depressions for each foot. (Award of Distinction) More photos here, including interior.
(New) Bickett-Rate Historical Preserve Barn, 600-225th Street, Tipton (Cedar County) - From Tipton, take W. 9th Street west (which turns into 210th Street/Cedar County F28), then turn south onto Garfield Avenue (Cnty X40), then in 1.5 miles turn right onto 225th Street, and a quick left onto an unnamed Level ‘B’ road which is the driveway to the Bickett-Rate Historical Preserve Barn (near the unincorporated village of Buchanan).
This 1922 gabled barn has centrally located sliding door access for hayracks, etc, on both the north & south elevations, and includes a passage door access for the farmer on the north & south sides and a smaller hinged passage door access for livestock on each corner of the barn’s south side. A central driveway provides access to the interior for the storage of hay, machinery, grain and other varied typical uses of a farm barn. Owned by the Cedar County Historical Society (CCHS). More details here.
Schneckloth crib, 23553 200th Avenue, Davenport (Scott County) - Exit US 61 at Exit 127. Go east on LeClaire Road three miles. Then go south on 200th a half mile. Herbert Schneckloth, prominent Iowa farmer, whose family emigrated from Germany in 1854, built the landmark round crib in 1926. Work on the 50-feet in diameter structure was done with hand tools. The foundation was dug and poured by hand using a shovel and one-third of a bag of home mix at a time. Handmade forms were used to pour the concrete. The ventilation block tile and matching solid tile were brought from Adel by train and horse-drawn wagons. More photos here.
Frye barn, 11150 New Liberty Rd, Maysville (Scott County) – From Exit 292 of I-80, go northwest on IA 130 towards Maysville (website: http://www.smallfryefarm.com/). The Frye farms were settled in 1881. This dairy barn was built around 1921 by great grandfather William Frye, grandfather Arnold Frye and great uncle Alfred Frye. The barn was originally white, but was painted red about ten years ago. All siding is original. All stone and brick work was tuck-pointed in 1996. The farm was designated a Century Farm in 1981. The barn interior, including the hay mow, is essentially unchanged with the exception of window replacements in 1995. More about the farm.
Zelle barn, 1503 Holland Street, Le Claire (Scott County) - Take Exit 306 off I-80. Turn left at lights (north) and go through Le Claire. Turn left (west) onto Holland Street. Continue up hill for 1.5 miles until blacktop ends. Drive is 100 feet on right. This is a 19th century family farm. One of the few barns left in the area. More photos of this barn.
Schroeder barn, 2738 130th Street, Wilton (Muscatine County) - Take Exit 271 off I-80 and go south five miles on IA 38 to 130th Street. Turn left for 1/4 mile. Barn (48x50) was built in 1900 and has roof rafter haymow with haymow door and track in tact. The foundation is river rock. The south end of the barn was never painted, so was left that way. More photos here.
Strabala barn, 1830 290th Street, Washington (Washington County) - From Washington, go south on IA 1 for 5.5 miles. Turn west on 290th and go one-half mile. The barn is on the right. This large barn was built in the 1920's. Open only on Sunday. Click here to see photos before and after restoration.
Murphy barn, 7606 Stony Hollow Road, Burlington (Des Moines County) - Follow Cnty X99 north from Burlington, then turn west onto Stony Hollow Road (H50). Primitive historic barn has horse stalls, milking area, hog house, corn crib, cattle feeding area, and hay loft. Barn is still used for agriculture. (Award of Distinction). More photos here.
Rigsby Hill/Parsons barn, 22055 Highway 1, Keosauqua (Van Buren) County) - On Highway IA 1, south of Keosauqua Bridge, at the top of the hill on the west side. This is a small, but important, Pennsylvania style barn built for practical purposes rather than tradition on a gorgeous site above a village. The National Register barn was built in 1869. Click here to see more.