The Iowa Barn Foundation: Helping to preserve Iowa's agricultural heritage one barn at a time.


Floyd County Barn Tour and Picnic - 2006

One of Iowa's landmark farms, known as the Cook farm, was among the historic sights on the Iowa Barn Foundation's Spring tour Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11, 2006. The Cook farm, south of Charles City, Iowa was be the site of the spring picnic Sunday noon. Three unique barns in Floyd County, along with a barn and the Lidtke Mill near Lime Springs in Howard County were on this free, self-guided tour.

The Sunday noon picnic at the farm was catered by Lynch Barbecue, of Waucoma, Iowa. The barbecue featured pork sandwiches, barbecued chicken breasts, spicy baked beans, deviled egg potato salad, coleslaw, strawberry short cake and lemonade. The price was $10 per person (less for children).

Photos of the barns on the tour, along with their locations, are listed below:

Cook Barn Cook House

Cook Barn, Charles City (Floyd County). Directions: The Cook Barn is on "Old Highway Road", which is just north of and parallel with US 218. Old Highway Road can be found by taking Shadow Avenue south from Charles City toward US 218 and turning left (east) onto Old Highway Road.

Owners of the farm, Michael and Rochelle Barrigan, are opening the limestone barn and house to viewers during this free, two-day tour. The history of this unique farmstead goes back to 1850, when a log cabin was built on the property. The John O'Hair family bought the land in 1856 and built the cube-shaped, three-story section of the barn in 1856, along with a humble two-room stone house. As often happened, the livestock had more glamorous quarters than the owners.

A couple of owners later, in 1870, A.W. Cook from Illinois, bought the farm. He started with 30 acres and had amassed a total of 600 acres when he died in 1887. The farm became known as the Cook Farm, as he made the farm prosperous raising cattle, grain, and Percheron horses. In 1872, he traveled to France, bought 12 stallions and four mares, and brought them to Iowa. It is believed that the first Percheron horse born in the United States was born on the farm. The farm is on the National Register of Historic Places. A photo of the Cook farmhouse and barn are shown on the right (click the photos to enlarge them).

Schmidt Barn

Schmidt Barn, Floyd (Floyd County). Directions: Travel South of Floyd to the intersection of Highway 18 and T-44. The address is 1645 Quarry Road. It overlooks the US 18/T44 intersection from the Southwest.

The 40'x60' Schmidt barn, built in 1858 near Floyd, has heavy frame timbers salvaged from the first bridge over the Cedar River at Floyd. It has original hickory pole rafters. The barn, built by Jesse Edwards, is described in "Barns of the USA" by Wilson Wells. A photo of the barn, taken by Ken Dunker, is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

Catt BarnCatt Farmhouse

Catt Barn, 2375 Timber Avenue, Charles City (Floyd County). Directions: Travel South on Shadow Ave. (which becomes T-64) from Charles City, past US 218 to 240th Street. Turn left (east) and drive about a mile to Timber Avenue. Turn left (north) and drive about a quarter mile. The barn and house are on the left.

The barn and house on the farm where Carrie Chapman Catt grew up will be open. The 10-acre site is owned by the 19th Amendment Society. For more information, see the Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home and Museum.

The recently-restored house, built in 1866, will be also be open. The barn was built in the early 1900's. A photo of the farmhouse and a photo of the barn, taken by Ken Dunker, are shown on the right (click the photos to enlarge them).

Brown Barn, Lime Springs (Howard County). Directions: Travel one mile North of Lime Springs and then a couple of blocks East.

One of Iowa's historic barns sits on a picturesque bank of the Upper Iowa River in old Lime Springs, Iowa on the Minnesota border. The barn was a summer home at the turn-of-the-century for W.C. Brown, president of the New York Central Railroad and a major player in American railroads. Brown was born in Norway, New York, but grew up in Vernon Springs, Iowa. Later, while living in Lime Springs, Brown met and married Ella Hewett, a native of the town. Brown began his railroad career wooding engines. He bought the farm to accommodate his prize livestock. There is even a separate building connected by an overhead rail for manure storage. The barn is owned by Rita Jones of Lime Springs.

Lidtke Barn Lidtke Mill

Lidtke Barn and Mill, (Howard County). Directions: The Mill is on "Mill Road" east of US 63 and west of V36. It also is just south of the Upper Iowa River and Lidtke Park.

Next to the Brown-Jones farm is the picturesque Lidtke Mill, which dates to 1857. The mill was originally used to grind buckwheat flour. The mill, on the Upper Iowa River, was added onto through the years and eventually produced electricity, then ground feed. Also on view will be the Lidtke house and barn to the west of the mill. The barn was built between 1850 and 1870 by D.W. Davis, father-in-law of H.C. Lidtke for whom the National Historic Site is named.

In the side of the barn, a worker at the mill carved an image of the original mill stream bridge that collapsed when a steam tractor and threshing machine tried to cross it. The barn and mill are located in an area called "old town"-a ghost town created when the entire town was moved south when the railroad bypassed the town. A photo of the mill and a photo of the barn, taken by Ken Dunker, are shown on the right (click the photos to enlarge them).

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