Birthday Party For A Rare And Beautiful Barn

Iowa Farm Scene

You are invited to the 130th anniversary celebration of the Secrest 1883 Octagonal Barn, a historic gem near Iowa City.

Published on: August 17, 2013

One hundred and thirty years ago, Joshua Secrest and barnbuilder Frank Longerbeam sat around a kitchen table on the farmstead near Iowa City, Iowa and planned one of the largest round barns in the country. The graceful bell-shaped roof is unique – there is none like it anywhere. "This barn is a wonderful photo opportunity," says Rich Tyler, a barn historian and one of the people planning this upcoming event.

On Sunday August 24, 2013, a birthday party for this Iowan treasure will be celebrated from 12 noon to 5 pm. Highlighting the event will be Betsy, a 1900 pound Belgian work horse, will hoist hay into the 75 foot loft. Additional events include slide presentations on barns, book signings, and a painting demonstration. There will be an opportunity to hand milk a (wooden) cow; plant corn by hand; harness a (wooden) horse; and use a 'boring' machine like barn-builder Longerbeam would have done in 1883. There will also be live music. Visitors are encouraged to participate in a pot luck picnic at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.



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Program
12:15 p.m.
Tours of the barn with Rich Tyler

1 p.m.
Work horses putting up hay (Betsy and Margie, 1900 pound Belgians) Bob Whitlatch, with brother Keith

2 p.m.
Period farm equipment demonstrations                          
horses: harness a (wooden) work horse                                         
cows: milk a (wooden) cow
The Chicken or the Egg?                                                                   
Corn: plant, remove and sort kernels                                               
barn building:  boring tools                                                          

3 p.m.
Slide show – Barns of Iowa with Michael Harker

3:30 p.m.
Slide show – the restoration with Rich Tyler

4 p.m.
Pot luck picnic                                                              

Throughout the afternoon there will be music. And you can see a demonstration of a rare old gas engine running a mill—the engine was built in Iowa City by the Kelly Gas Engine Company. There will be barn book signings.

The restoration project is being supported by the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Friends of Historic Preservation, the hardworking high school students in Upward Bound, and the strong young men of Phi Kappa Nu (Cornell college) and Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity (The University of Iowa).

The Secrest 1883 Octagonal barn is located one mile west of Downey, four miles south of the West Branch exit from I-80, or five miles east of Iowa City on Highway 6, then Oasis north and Osage east one mile. The event is free and open to the public. For further information contact Rich Tyler 319 337 2544 or at rich-tyler@uiowa.edu.

The barn is a wonderful photography opportunity.