Oh, you beautiful barns

Psssst: Why not go barnstorming this weekend?

The Dobbin round barn.

Barnstorming has several meanings, all of them exciting.

Originally, it described a troop of actors who put on plays in barns.

In 19th and 20th century America, it described vigorous political campaigning across a defined region.

In the earliest days of aviation, those daring enough to fly in flimsy, wooden biplanes were said to be “barnstorming.”

No storming of any kind is required to visit any — or all — of the 66 barns open this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25, during Iowa Barn Federation’s Annual All State Barn Tour.

There’s no charge and tours are self-guided, although with luck you might meet the barn’s owners, or volunteers who can tell you more of its history, construction or use.

Barns are open across Iowa, but here’s a selection of barns just a short drive away.

With Iowa weather on its best behavior, fall is the perfect time to look at beautiful, old barns, but this year is special in another way. Iowa Barn Foundation, founded in 1997, celebrates 25 years in 2022.

Over the years, IBF has raised $2,000,000 to help Iowans save over 270 barns that might otherwise have been torn down and lost forever. Its members restore their own barns and provide practical advice and moral support for others who wish to do the same. Would you like to restore a barn on your farm? Do you believe barns are worth saving as a visible symbol of our state’s agricultural heritage? For more information about the fall barn tour, or to become a member of IBF, phone Roxanne Mehlisch on 641.751.1406, or email her on mehlisch@netins.net.

Now, get in the car … and barnstorm.

About those barns

Dobbin round barn, 2551 Brown Ave., State Center, in Marshall County, on page 1 and above interior photos. This barn was built in 1917 from a pre-cut kit designed and built to order by Fordon Van Tine, Davenport, for a total cost of $6,000. Local carpenters Ike Ingersol and Amos Thompson assembled the numbered pieces into the 65-foot-diameter barn with a built-in silo in the middle. Visitors this weekend will see the barn in process of restoration.

August and Josephine Riemenschneider farmstead, 201 Fourth Avenue NE, State Center, in Marshall County, page 1 smaller photo. The barn is behind the Victorian house. This unique horse barn was built in 1902 for Craig Pfantz’s great-grandfather, a well-known horse broker. The barn is built to an unusual design and has many unique features, including handmade screens and a milk cellar. It is owned by great-grandson Craig and wife Mary Pfantz, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Robert and Carla Uetz Barn, 2011 180th St., Boone., right. Built in 1928 by William Smalley to house work horse teams and a small dairy herd, the barn is notable for its unusual framing and large loft. The original overhead manure handling system is still in place.


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