A barn giant

What a barn! Four stories, two wings, numerous windows, and a brick silo. The location is in Wapello County at 9225/9227 74th St., Ottumwa, suddenly visible on a hilltop after driving along a winding forested road.

When Keeley Paris bought this 200-acre farm, he acquired an incredible barn, once a masterpiece but almost in ruins. The history of the barn is sketchy, but was built in the mid to late 1800s.

Above is a photo before he began the extensive restoration work on this former dairy barn. On the right side on the lower level were milking stanchions, with hay storage above. On the left side on the lower level were stalls for the cattle, with the upper level left open.

Adaptations have no doubt been made through the years. The photo below shows the back side with a hay door, since there is no hay door on the front side. The door below the hay door has probably been revised at some period because this would have been the feed entrance, not possible today with the current configuration of the door and window.

A study to analyze this barn and discover amazing aspects during its lifetime was a big project. The brick silo is most unusual, since silos of this type are usually clay tile, not brick. It appears that some of the bricks have been recycled from other uses. Also, the tiny pebbles of gravel in the concrete make it even more unusual.

Restoring the structure was truly a labor of love. Paris received a sizable grant from the Iowa Barn Foundation to help with this huge restoration project. The previous owner raised peacocks, and Paris is now raising goats that have plenty of room to roam. He no doubt has bigger plans in mind in the future for this most unusual and amazing barn. Time will tell. (2023 photos)