Historic barns and some of the most scenic countryside in Iowa will be featured on the spring 2019 Iowa Barn Foundation area tour. The public is invited to attend the free, drive-yourself tour June 22-23 in Dubuque and Clayton counties in northeast Iowa.
These old barns are open during the two days. The barns have received either matching grants or an Award of Distinction from the Iowa Barn Foundation, which assists barn owners across the state in restoring and preserving their landmark structures.
The foundation holds two tours a year. The Spring Barn Tour is focused on a certain area of Iowa. In the fall, an All-State Barn Tour is held across the state, typically on a weekend in September. All tours are free and self-guided; some have special displays and presentations. In addition, visitors have the opportunity to join the Iowa Barn Foundation if they are not already a member.
Telling story of Iowa agriculture
“The barns on our tours are typical of Iowa barns that have served farmers well,” says Jackie Schmeal, an IBF board member. “These restored barns illustrate how barns can be brought back to their original glory.”
Touring the barns is an educational experience in learning about the history of Iowa agriculture. At some of the tour stops, a guide is present to answer questions about the barn and its construction. Some of the barns are still in use today.
The annual Spring Barn Tour covers only one or two counties. For information and directions to each barn, visit the Iowa Barn Foundation.
Catered lunch June 22
A highlight of the spring 2019 tour will be lunch on June 22 at the Jack & Maria Smith barn, 20922 Asbury Road, Durango. This classic big red barn was built in 1917 and has remained in the same family. See details on the IBF Magazine webpage, the Smith Family Barn story.
The catered lunch will give everyone a chance to visit and learn more about Iowa’s historic barns and IBF activities. Cost is $10 per person. For reservations, mail checks made out to the Iowa Barn Foundation to Roxanne Mehlisch, 17590 730th Ave., Zearing, IA. She will take questions at 641-487-7690. Send reservations to her by June 17.
“Jack Smith, the Dubuque County representative to the Iowa Barn Foundation, has spent months putting the 2019 spring tour together,” Schmeal says. “His wife Maria, and Brian and Lisa Willenbring, have also helped.”
New book available
A new book, “Heritage on the Prairie,” featuring photos and brief histories of Iowa barns, has been published by the IBF. You can buy the book at the Iowa Barn Foundation.