Hausbarn project moving forward
Project leaders report on visit to Germany
In one room, interested observers could see an open-topped 4-by-2-foot scale model.
In an adjoining room, residents could see video footage of the actual structure currently located in Germany.
And, soon enough, members of the Manning Heritage Foundation said, the real thing will be hauled across the ocean and located near Willow Creek Park.
To whet local residents' appetites for the moving of a 250-yearold hausbarn to Manning, foundation members held an open house at the German Village Mall Wednesday.
Two Manning residents, Mayor Dan Peters and Harold Schmidt, have just returned from a 10-day trip to the Schleswig-Holstein area of northern Germany where the hausbarn is located.
They report that the intricate matter of dismantling and moving the hausbarn has begun.
"When they take it apart, they put a mark on each piece of timber," Schmidt said.
In this way, the exact location of each piece is known precisely for help in reconstruction.
The exact manner of transporting the hausbarn is not yet decided.
Organizers said that the National Guard may be tapped. This would be a low-cost alternative, but Schmidt said that a shipping company can perhaps provide the type of needed protective containers. The cost is around $5,000 per container and the entire move "will cost a couple hundred thousand to get it over here," he said.
Peters offered narration for the video footage he shot in Germany.
The hausbarn, which gets its name from the fact that it housed both people and livestock in separate sections of the same building, has a history that can be traced back 200 years, Peters said.
"The exact age is going to be determined by a process of aging the wood at one of the German universities," Peters said.
"Just like how they age mummy finds of Indians, they will do that with this wood."
The video shows the 45-by-150 foot structure sitting on a masonry footing, with brick down to the ground and faced with concrete, Peters explained.
The main brick makeup is interrupted by 10-inch-square timber beams approximately every five feet. A chimney extends upward from the living quarters section, and the peak is a wooden triangle over-hung by a thick thatch.
Inside the barn, the footage shows 40-foot beams up to the roof, with a hayloft located above. In the background, workers can be seen carefully carrying dismantled portions of the barn.
The hausbarn is being donated by Claus Hauptmann.
"He deeded it to us, free, this young man of 46 years," Peters said.
"He and his mother owned it. He will write down all the history he can of his family's history in the barn, as he knows it."
But not all parts of the hausbarn are 250 years old, Peters said. The building was added to at different times over the decades of Hauptmann family ownership.
Schmidt said he got to see several other hausbarns while in Germany. No hausbarn is exactly alike, just as barns in Iowa vary widely in size and function.
He said the Manning group located the barn after placing an ad in a German newspaper.
"A curator in the Schleswig-Holstein area got a hold of us," Schmidt said. "He is the curator of 56 other hausbarns in the area.
The hausbarn will be placed at the former Sextro place, directly south across the road from Willow Creek Park, LeRoy Dammann explained.
The 10-acre site currently is vacant, but has a standing farmhouse dating back to the 1920s. The hausbarn will be located in a closing just west of the house and will be surrounded by evergreens.
Dammann said many people are behind the project and that dozens will be tapped for help once the hausbarn is here.
"We have a lot of real active clubs here in town. They will help dig right in," Dammann said.
Foundation officials are proud of the hausbarn plans. They said that Manning will have the only hausbarn in Iowa, making it a huge potential draw for tourists to this town of German heritage.
What makes this project so different is that the hausbarn is authentic, not a reconstruction.
"Nobody wants to see a replica," Dammann said. "This is real. The timbers are 250 years old. This is what people want to see."
Freda Dammann, chairwoman of the foundation's hausbarn committee, said that the Manning Heritage Foundation is looking for funding.
"We need financial and emotional support to get the project done," she said.
"We need to get people interested. This will benefit the whole Carroll County area, will bring a wider audience of tourists here."
She said that the model of the hausbarn, built by Wayne Kirchhoff of Atlantic, will be taken to various local towns to show how the finished project will look. Hopefully, seeing the model will encourage citizens to give private donations for the project, she said.
Schmidt said that the first parts of the building will arrive this fall, but reconstruction will not begin until 1997. In addition to the hausbarn, he also hopes to get as much of the authentic farming equipment and tools as possible.
Schmidt said the foundation will need to hire a site manager or curator to oversee the volunteers who will help with reconstruction.
"We asked the German foreman for the crew that was taking it down if he would be willing to come over," Schmidt said.
"Well, he didn't know about that. He said, 'I'm used to taking things down, I'm not used to building them up."'