A cornhusker story

A three-story barn! This unusual 1890 barn was designed for hay, horses, and cattle, one on each level. Stanchions for six dairy cattle were on the ground level, along with a space for resting and loafing. Stalls for carriages and 16 horses were on the second level, with an entrance ramp on the north side (not visible) and an exit on the east. The third level was for hay, with a hay door on the east side.

Detlef David Guttau was an 1870 German immigrant, Pottawattamie County pioneer, barn builder, and California landowner. After Detlef and his wife Louise retired from farming and settled in California, their son Hugo and his wife Clara moved to this farm, followed by their son Deflef and his wife Ethel.

A memorable event was picking corn in 1946. Detlef hired six men, “cornhuskers” from Nebraska, who picked 40-bushel wagonloads, one each morning and one each afternoon. The six 26-inch-wide wagons were each pulled by two horses. He chose this method of picking corn because he thought there was too much loss with a mechanical picker he had previously used. However, the next year he bought a new one-row corn picker and retired the cornhusker idea. The name was penned as a Nebraska name, “cornhuskers.” Sound familiar?

The fourth Guttau family to live on this farm includes Gary, his wife Dee, and son Chad. The barn was in use for cattle until 2012 and it is now a home for their cats. Saving this large, aging barn required considerable effort. It was re-shingled on the south side in 1955 and the north side in the 1980s. The limestone foundation was replaced by concrete blocks in the 1980s and major structural repairs were made in the early 2000s. It was re-painted in 2019. Originally it had a large cupola.

It became a Century Farm in 1977 and will be a Heritage Farm (150 years) in 2027. The location is in Pottawattamie County at 31082 Dogwood Rd, Treynor. (2022 photo)

Judge Lewis, Winterset Pioneer

It was 1864 when Judge William Henry Lewis and his wife Emma arrived in Madison County. In the late 1860s he built a home, a summer kitchen, and a barn on their farm west of town, and named it Fairmount Nursery. Hundreds of varieties of trees and flowers were planted, as well as hundreds of apple trees, promoting the apple industry.

The board and batten barn was originally white, as seen in the 1871 photo below. Lewis, wearing a white shirt, is standing in the open door. (He is barely visible, resembling merely a white dot.) Not much is written about the barn but there was space for carriages as well as horses and goats. Horses and goats still live there today.

Lewis is considered to be a founding father of Winterset, as well as its mayor, county surveyor and county judge. He also erected many buildings in town, and was the superintendent when the current courthouse was being built, after the original one burned in 1875. He died in 1928 at the age of 88.

The Lewis house, pictured below, built 1867-69, is a bed and breakfast owned by Mark and Kayla Hawkins, located at 1145 West Summit. (2022 photo)