The Iowa Barn Foundation’s annual barn tour will be held next weekend and it starts is the far southwest corner of the state. Kelly Tobin of New Market is a member of the Iowa Barn Foundation’s board. After visiting three barns in the Clarinda area, the self-guided tour continues east on Highway Two to the edge of Bedford where there’s a round barn, followed by more barns east of Mount Ayr. There’s an octagonal barn on the tour that housed farm horses, and another that was built before the Civil War. A slight detour from barns will occur as folks on the tour can stop at the International Center for Rural Culture near Allerton. In Appanoose County, there’ll be tours of restored buildings in Centerville. The Iowa Barn Foundation’s annual meeting will be held Sunday, June 5th at the Ramsey Farm at Lesanville. Paul Ramsey, who now lives in Hollywood, California, lived in Des Moines as a child and visited his grandparents who helped start the town. Restoration of the historic buildings there began with a grant from the Iowa Barn Foundation. The money for those grants comes from memberships in the Foundation. Membership is 35-dollars-a-year and each member receives two booklets in the mail each year with information on barns and how to restore them. If you’re restoring a barn and want to get a grant, Tobin says there are two ways to qualify. If the barn qualifies to be on the National Historic Register, then it’s eligible for a grant. But most of the barn restoration projects do not meet that standard. Folks submit restoration estimates, and the foundation board culls through the final bills and try to pay half of the cost. Those who get the grants have to sign an agreement that stipulates they’ll keep the barn in good repair and will open it to tours once a year. Find more information about the grants or directions for the June 4th and 5th barn tour on-line at www.iowabarnfoundation.org. About 15-hundred people are members of the Iowa Barn Foundation which was formed eight years ago. “It was in 1997 that four people gathered for coffee one morning and decided they had seen enough of the old barns deteriorating and so they decided to try to do something,” Tobin says. Since then, the group has helped restore 35 barns in Iowa.
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