Authentic German Haus / Barn
To Bring Manning Big Benefits
Manning has access to the last structure allowed to leave Germany
by Becky Bothun
Manning Monitor March 16, 1995
"It can happen and it will happen!" That is the response of the German Haus/Barn Committee when asked about bringing a German haus/barn from Germany to Manning, Iowa.
According to the Iowa Department of Economic Development, tourism is the third largest industry in the state. Forty-nine percent of the people who travel for entertainment and pleasure are specifically looking for historic sites and heritage tourism.
"The community, as a whole, needs to understand the concept of tourism and what those dollars can mean to a town such as Manning," committee member, LeRoy Dammann stated.
"Obviously, Manning could never be a major retail center, but what the town can offer is the heritage that it was built on," said Freda Dammann, co-chairperson of the Haus/Barn Committee.
The committee feels that Manning needs to look to the future, as well as at the overall picture. They hope that the town's people will work together, combining efforts, to make things happen.
"Manning has the potential to be a part of a tourism loop that has been in the works for some time," said Ruth Ohde, president of the Heritage Foundation.
The boundaries of Germany and Denmark have changed many times. At times, parts of Denmark were actually Germany. Given the proximity of the National Danish Museum and windmill at Elkhorn, twenty-five miles south of Manning, it would appear that a National German Museum at Manning is only a natural expectation.
Tourism brought $1 million dollars to the Elk Horn community in its first year of 1980. By 1988, $7 to $8 million tourism dollars flooded the community of
750 people. That is reality, and Manning could very easily be a part of that market.
There are 260 million Americans, 80 million of those claim German Heritage, 20 million from the Schleswig-Holstein area. From 1864-1920 German immigrants from the Schleswig-Holstein area came to call Iowa their home.
German heritage and history abound in Manning. The German haus/barn and museum is only a matter of tapping the town's natural resource, the committee said.
"No one person can do it alone, but together great things can be accomplished," the Dammanns said.
The haus/barn, donated to the Manning community by German farmer, Claus Hachmann of Klein-Offenseth Sparrieshoop, Germany is 450 years old, 165 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 65 feet high. The three floors consist primarily of wood, bricks, and thatch.
Manning residents, Larry and Cynthia Genzen are the only local people who have visited the haus/barn. They report that there are no animals living in the structure, however, on the west end of the structure there are five pens for livestock. The center of the haus/barn is for hay storage and on the east end are the living quarters, two stories high. The interior of the haus/barn is in very good condition.
The haus/barn is occupied by a family of five. The tenants have not paid rent or utilities in over two years, but refuse to move. German law differs from American law in respect to tenants. They cannot be evicted, but rather, the government needs to find them suitable housing.
When the haus/barn is unoccupied some of Manning's residents would like to go to Germany to help disassemble the structure. It is possible that German craftsmen will be hired to rebuild the structure in Manning to look just as it did in the German countryside of Schleswig-Holstein.
Dr. Carl Ingwer Johannsen is a professor at a university near Kiel and the director of the impressive Schleswig-Holstein Living History Farms at Kiel, Germany. He has incorporated the haus/barn project as a part of his curriculum; therefore, there is no charge involved for services. Students have been working on diagrams. Each piece of the haus/barn will need to be razed, tagged, cataloged, and packed in shipping cartons. The containers will be loaded and shipped to the east coast, then loaded on trucks and hauled to the mid-west and ultimately, to Manning, Iowa.
The haus/barn will sit high on a hill overlooking the city of Manning. It will be located in Four Corners Park, just southwest of Manning.
The German government recently realized the importance of their culture, and the haus/barn is to be the last structure allowed out of the country. There are only two authentic haus/barns located in the United States, both at The Museum of American Frontier Culture in Staunton, Virginia.
Members of the Working Group of "Folklore Collections" in Schleswig and Flensburg regions in Germany, twenty of whom are owners/directors of private town museums, are willing to offer folklore objects and display items from their collections for the town of Manning's use free of charge.
"Some people have asked me why we don't just make a replica of the haus/barn with materials we have instead of spending all the money to transport the real thing," said Ron Colling, continued on page 6