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


Story County Barn Tour and Picnic - 2003

A square barn, a round barn, the Iowa State University horse barn, and a barn built in 1875 were among the barns on tour the weekend of June 7 and 8, 2003. Even though sprawl of Ames and Nevada have encroached on rural Story County, some amazingly significant, historic barns remain, appreciated by their owners and reminding passers-by of earlier times. And, a few of the celebrated barns, connected with Iowa State University, stand telling stories of the university's important agricultural beginnings.

Norma Johnson of Slater, Jim Christy of Nevada, and Roxanne Mehlisch of Zearing, drove miles on gravel roads searching out significant barns in the county. Some of these barns were opened to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the Story County Barn Tour and Picnic Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8, 2003. The tour was free and open to the public.

An old-fashioned picnic was held at the historic Handsaker farmstead in Nevada, Iowa on Sunday, June 8, at 12:30 p.m. The picnic was catered by Midwest Pack, Nevada.

Photos of the barns on the tour, along with a map showing their locations, are included below:

Story County Barn Tour Map

Handsaker Barn

Handsaker Barn, 65627 200th Street, Nevada, Iowa. Barn 1 on the map.

The Handsaker barn, featured on the cover of the Spring 2003 edition of the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine, is a spartan, unique square barn known widely as the "Fernald barn." William Handsaker bought the rich land, on which the barn stands, from the government in 1853 for $4 per acre. The barn was built in 1880 by J.W. Handsaker, great-great grandfather of Gary Handsaker, who with his mother, Gloria, owns the farm now. Dale Handsaker, Gloria's husband and Gary's father, was a well-known Story County farmer until his death. The beautifully maintained house on the farm was built in 1875. Gary plans to remove the shingle siding on the barn and bring back the original wood and paint it red as it was originally. Interestingly, the Handsaker family sold some of their land so that the village of Fernald could be built. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

Bowman Round Barn

Bowman Round Barn, 28103 640th Street, Nevada, Iowa. Barn 2 on the map. From the intersection of US 30 and 19th Street, Nevada, (McDonald's), travel south two miles, one half mile east, and one mile south.

Not much is known about the history of the only remaining round barn in Story County. Written on the inside of the barn is "1911 Belcher". The clay tile barn has interesting interior construction and a working track. The farm is owned by Terry and Tom Bowman. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

Freeland Barn

Freeland Barn, 57304 Highway 210, Cambridge, Iowa. Barn 3 on the map. Travel one mile south of Huxley on U.S. 69. Turn east on Highway 210 and travel across I 35. The farm is the third one on the south side of the road.

Ole Apland was one of six Norwegian men who traveled from Illinois to the "land of milk and honey" and settled near Huxley in the 1860's. Ole Apland built the barn in 1875 five years before his untimely death. Kermit Freeland, great-grandson of the original owner, and his bride, Flora, moved onto the century farm in 1932. Flora, his widow, 90, still owns the farm and is proud of the huge pegged barn and house that was built in 1865. The barn, 80 feet long, has a basement where corn was dumped for the cattle. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

Kalsem Barn

Kalsem Barn, 30342 535th Avenue, Huxley, Iowa. Barn 4 on the map. From U.S. 69 in Huxley, travel west on East First Street through Huxley to 320th Street. Go west one mile and turn north to 535th Avenue for 1.5 miles. The farmstead is on the east side of the road.

The Kalsem Barn was built in the late 1800's by Ole J. and Anna (Nelson) Kalsem. The pegged barns were built in the late 1800's. Ole's son, Orville and wife, LaVerne (Ersland) bought the farm in the 1940's. Sons, John and Dave, bought part ownership in the farm in 1965 and are now sole owners. Dave and Mike and their families live in two houses on the farm. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

Lowman-Johnson Barn

Lowman-Johnson Barn, 50553 310th Street, Slater, Iowa. Barn 5 on the map. From the corner of Highway 210 and County Road R 38 in Slater, go north two miles on R 38. Then turn west one-fourth mile. The Johnson farm is the second one on the north side of the road.

The Lowman-Johnson Barn, built around 1890, is situated on a picturesque, well-cared for farm near Slater, Iowa. It had some restoration in the 1950's. The barn, which houses Dennis and Norma Johnson's horses, was owned by Frank and Edith Lowman for 35 years. The barn illustrates how a small barn can become a piece of art. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

Rosenfeld Barn after restoration Rosenfeld Barn before restoration

Rosenfeld Barn, 27282 520th Avenue Kelley, Iowa. Barn 6 on the map. From US 69, three miles south of Ames, turn west on the "Kelley blacktop" (E 57). Just before the town of Kelley, turn north on 520th Street. The Rosenfeld barn is north three-fourths of a mile.

The Rosenfeld Barn was built around 1918, on land George Rosenfeld purchased in 1873, to house a nationally recognized purebred herd of Aberdeen-Angus cattle. In 1923 the Rosenfeld herd had the International Grand Champion Aberdeen-Angus Cow at Chicago. And, in 1925 the herd produced the Grand Champion Herd of steers over all breeds at Chicago. The huge (96 feet by 66 feet) barn has a poured concrete foundation that goes up inside walls higher than usual. Cattle rubbed against the concrete instead of wood leaving less deterioration. The pegged barn has 27 four-paned windows for light and ventilation. Buyers from throughout the United States used to attend breeding stock sales at the barn. The barn passed from George to Carl to Clyde. It is now owned by Mrs. Beth Rosenfeld Young and Mrs. Ronald Rosenfeld. A photo of the barn prior to restoration, and a photo of the barn after restoration is shown on the right (click the photos to enlarge them).

Iowa State University Dairy Barn

Iowa State University Dairy Barns, Barn 7 on the map. From Highway 30 at Ames, take Elwood Drive exit north. Approximately 0.2 miles north on Elwood, turn left (west) at the first light to Mortensen Rd. Proceed 0.75 miles on Mortensen road to find the Dairy Barns on the south side of the street. Directions will be available at the ISU Dairy Farm to guide you to the ISU Horse Barn.

Iowa State University Dairy Barns are on Mortensen Road, south of the campus. The dairy farm site was developed at this site in 1908. The original dairy barn, built in 1908, is still in use. A large dairy barn and milking parlor was built during the 1930's and completed in 1937. The magnificent building remains in mostly original condition inside and out. The barn is U-shaped in design and has a classical gambrel roof. The haymow is over the entire structure. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).   See the latest information and more photos here.

Iowa State University Horse Barn

Iowa State University Horse Barn, Barn 8 on the map. From south of Ames: from Highway 30 at Ames, take Elwood Drive exit north (Elwood Drive is 3 miles west of I-35). Remain on Elwood Drive north for 2.2 miles. Elwood drive crosses South 4th, Lincoln Way, and veers west at the railroad tracks, coming directly to the horse barn parking lot. Directions will be available at the ISU Horse Barn to guide you to the ISU Dairy Farm.

From north of Ames via Highway 69: proceed south through Ames to the intersection with 13th Street. Turn west on 13th St. and proceed 1.3 miles to Stange Road. Turn left (south) onto Stange Road and proceed 2 blocks to the ISU Horse Barns. The parking lot is immediately to the east of the barns. (Alternate: From north of Ames via I-35: exit at 13th Street, proceed west for 3.7 miles to Stange Road, then south two blocks.)

Iowa State University Horse Barn is historically and architecturally important to Iowa and Iowa State University. The clay tile barn with gambrel style roof and turned up eaves was designed in 1923 by Proudfoot, Bird, and Souers of Des Moines, a nationally-recognized firm that designed many of Iowa's important historic buildings. The roof has numerous gabled and shed dormers that accommodate ventilation windows and haymow doors. The interior with box stalls, tie stalls, and group housing stalls is original. Some of the original wood block floors remain. The haymow covers the entire building. The center wing was built in 1926 to house machinery and is still used for that purpose. The barn is in poor condition, and an effort should be made to restore it. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

UPDATE: Repairs were made to the Iowa State University Horse Barn in 2006. The barn now has a new roof, windows, doors, fencing, and repaired cupolas.    See the latest information and more photos.


O'Neill Dairy-Hassebrock Barn

O'Neill Dairy-Hassebrock Barn, 54745 180th Street, Ames, Iowa. Barn 9 on the map. The lovely farm is one mile south of the Gilbert Corner off of US 69, nort of Ames, and one mile east.

The O'Neill Dairy, owned by brothers Clem and Henry, was an Ames institution in the 50's and 60's. The large cow herd provided about half of the milk consumed in Ames. Vince Hassebrock, who grew up a mile from the dairy, and his wife bought the farm from the O'Neill estate in 1969. The Hassebrocks actively farm. A photo of the barn is shown on the right (click the photo to enlarge it).

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