Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project
VENTURA - Anyone traveling County Road S-14 in Cerro Gordo County a few miles south of Ventura can not help but notice the brick barn with the matching milk house that sits just slightly above the road. With no other buildings nearby, it is what remains of a farm and one is left wondering what the barn's history may be.
The land around it is owned by Edna KADOLPH, of Clear Lake, and is farmed by her son, Roger KADOLPH. Merle and Edna KADOLPH bought the farm in 1977, but have not lived there.
Details on the barn's origin are sketchy. Edna KADOLPH provided the abstracts showing ownership and there were names of former owners including brothers F. E. and H. J. BELLAMY, John EVANS, and Dallas BAUER, all before the farm was purchased by the KADOLPHS.
Clear Lake resident Max CHRISTENSEN was born on the farm and said he is the same age as the barn, both arriving in 1924. CHRISTENSEN said the barn was built by Eva HAMPTON, a Clear Lake attorney, who wanted a show place. He also identifies the building material as hollow tile, not brick.
The abstracts show the name Eva HAMPTON and identify her as a single woman.
When the KADOLPHS bought the property, a complete set of buildings, including a house and corn crib along with a grove of trees, was in place.
Edna KADOLPH said that once people were no longer living there, vandalism became a problem. Eventually, the corn crib was torn down, the house moved to Ventura and the grove of trees removed, until just the barn and milk house stand today.
The future of the barn is uncertain. Edna KADOLPH'S two daughters, one in Egan, Minn. and the other in Denver, Colo., would like to see the barn preserved.
With the roof failing, it may be a matter of time until the rest of the barn will deteriorate.
The barn's interior is surprisingly sound today. The south half has a manger, granaries and stalls that are in good condition.
The north half has pens in place standing as if they were in use not that long ago.
An old green wool Army issue overcoat hangs from a nail in the south half. Edna KADOLPH said it belonged to her husband, Merle. It appears to have hung there so long it could stand on its own.
Edna KADOLPH has memories of farming the fields around the barn before cabs were in use. She recalls driving a tractor with a picker-sheller and using a heat houser.
Max CHRISTENSEN describes the barn as a "landmark" and uses it when giving directions in the area.
Like many barns that no longer have a use, it seems a shame to see it go, but it represents an expense and liability to the owner who has mixed feelings about preserving or destroying it.
Photograph courtesy of Farm News
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