The Iowa Barn Foundation's annual two-day tour of historic Iowa barns this weekend was a wonderful opportunity for people to see some of these great historic structures as they still exist.
At the Dan and Michelle Harvey farm southeast of Gruver, visitors found a beautiful set of clay tile buildings, including a barn from 1925. The other buildings ranged from an 1899 house to a crib, also tile, circa 1921, a 1910 hog house and two buildings dating to 1919 - a chicken house and shop. There's even an ice house still on the property.
Dan says he would like to make a museum of the place - maybe get in on the National Register, even. And that's a great idea.
We need to keep our history alive - and that includes barns - so we can realize and understand that people built structures not with heavy equipment but with horses, block and tackle and scaffolding. And they built them high and big and strong for future generations to enjoy.
We don't really do that sort of thing in today's throwaway society. If something's worn out and outlived its usefulness, down it comes to be replaced by something new - but not necessarily better.
Preserving and maintaining these grand old structures, though, is a way to honor our ancestors, those people of the past who built this country. Indeed, these old barns are really monuments to them - a testament to their deeds and what they went through to make Iowa a better place.
This is going one step better than "penciling out" whether it's going to pay to keep that old barn or silo or shed. It's our heritage.
And just try to put a price on that.