Wallaces Farmer

Enjoy a weekend of Iowa barnstorming

The Iowa Barn Foundation is holding its annual Spring Barn Tour June 22-23. The public is invited to join this free tour of Iowa ag history.

Rod Swoboda

May 21, 2024

3 Min Read
Red barn belonging to Frost Family
WE SAVED OUR BARN: The Frost Family Barn is one of 11 barns featured on the Spring 2024 Iowa Barn Foundation Tour. Originally built in the 1870s, this barn, near Waterloo was completely restored in 2018. It has received the IBF Award of Distinction. Courtesy of Iowa Barn Foundation

Looking for a fun, family-friendly activity this June? Consider touring some of Iowa’s historic barns. The Iowa Barn Foundation is holding its annual Spring Barn Tour June 22-23. The barns will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend this free drive-it-yourself tour.

The 2024 tour will be held in the Waterloo area, with barns in southern Black Hawk and northern Tama counties. There are 11 history-filled barns open to tour inside and out. Owners will be on hand to share the structures’ interesting story and answer questions.

“Visitors will experience a diverse array of barns, including a rare round barn and a barn with walls made from locally harvested fieldstones,” says Dave Austin, an IBF board member. “Many are still in use, providing the opportunity to encounter bison, Suffolk sheep, Babydoll sheep, American Cream draft horses, chickens, ponies and farm cats. American Cream draft horses originated in central Iowa, and they are the only workhorse breed developed in the United States.”

Iowa’s agricultural history

Touring the barns is an educational experience in learning about the history of Iowa agriculture, he adds. Austin is a volunteer with the Iowa Barn Foundation, serving on the board of directors as well as editing the foundation magazine.

The June 22-23 tour is free and is made possible by the foundation’s member donors. A Saturday lunch will be offered for $15, and advance reservations are recommended. Lunch will be served Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Frost Barn, 1745 E. Eagle Road, Waterloo. The catered lunch will include a pork loin sandwich, cheesy potatoes, baked beans, a cookie and a drink (soda or water).

Lunch reservations can be made until June 1 online at iowabarnfoundation.org/product/2024-spring-lunch or by mailing a check, made out to Iowa Barn Foundation, to: Wayne Frost, 1745 E. Eagle Road, Waterloo, IA 50701. A limited number of meals will be available the day of the event for cash sales only.

Full tour details and a tour map can be found in the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine (mailed to member donors) or online at iowabarnfoundation.org/barn-tours. For answers to questions, please email [email protected].

Preserving Iowa’s barns

Founded in 1997, the Iowa Barn Foundation is dedicated to preserving Iowa’s rural agricultural buildings. The all-volunteer statewide organization is a 501(c)(3) Iowa nonprofit.

“The primary mission of the IBF is to educate the public about the significance and importance of Iowa’s barns through the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine and our barn tours,” Austin says.

IBF raises money to provide barn rehabilitation or restoration matching grants to help property owners restore their barns. In addition, property owners who use their own funds to restore or rehab barns that would otherwise qualify for a matching grant, are eligible to receive an Iowa Barn Foundation Award of Distinction. For more information about the IBF, visit iowabarnfoundation.org and Facebook page at facebook.com/iowabarnfoundation.

Fall All-State Barn Tour

In addition to the Iowa Spring Barn Tour, the Iowa Barn Foundation also hosts an annual Iowa All-State Barn Tour. The Spring Tour is focused on a specific county or two, while the All-State tour is held at various locations across Iowa.

The 24th annual Iowa All-State Barn Tour will be held Sept. 14-15. The all-state tour features barns that have received Iowa Barn Foundation restoration matching grants, Award of Distinction recipients, and Preservation Award recipients.

The self-guided fall tour is free and open to the public, the same as the spring tour. Participants have the unique opportunity to experience and appreciate Iowa’s ag heritage as they walk through these majestic barns.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda

Rod Swoboda is a former editor of Wallaces Farmer and is now retired.

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