A striped round barn

This striped round barn, located in Clayton County on Highway 52 south of Guttenberg in eastern Iowa, is like no other Iowa barn. The 36-inch wide vertical sections are metal (painted white), crimped to fit together with the neighboring sections. The roof structure is made up of 15 sections giving it the appearance of a dome as viewed from outside.

Louis Friedlein designed this barn and hired it built in 1914. It is 72 feet in diameter, has five doors, a cupola topped by an unusual aerator, and a 12-foot diameter wood stave silo inside. It is also a bank barn, with the earthen ramp up to the entrance built between two retaining walls, one wall visible on the far left.

It was originally a general-purpose barn, with stanchions for dairy cattle around the silo, as well as a milk room and pens for other livestock. On the upper level was a granary, a feed room, and a large loft that extended around the silo.

It is still in use today as a cattle barn, owned by Larry Friedlein, grandson of Louis. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Chickens at home

 The Bruxvoort chicken house near New Sharon in Mahaska County, owned by Nancine Bruxvoort, was built in 1917. The flocks of chickens raised here were lucky to have plenty of space to roam inside. Note the numerous windows on the south side that provided natural light as well as fresh air when they were tilted open. It still exists as an example of bygone days, although it has not been in use for many years. In the intervening years a large tree has shaded the building, which would make it less than desirable for use today. (2023 photo)

Another example is a much smaller 1920s chicken house now at Lesanville, a historic village site in Ringgold County, east of Mt. Ayr along Hwy 2. It is referred to on this historic Ramsey farm as “Aunt Jennie’s chicken house,” where she fed both hens and roosters. In this view it is apparent how the tilted windows allow for ventilation but keep out rain. (2013 photo)