Sunday, July 24, 2011

Goodbye Farm


This weekend I visited my Grandparent Gochanour's Farm outside Osceola, Iowa for probably the last time.  My grandmother now lives in a nursing home and the farm is being sold.  While it is a sad moment, I have lovely memories of 20 years of visiting the farm.  When I was a kid, my brother, Andy, and I would stay at Grandma and Grandpa's for two weeks out of the summer.  These visits helped foster my relationship with my grandparents as well as help my imagination grow.  I remember one specific summer when my brother and I decided we were going to build a karate studio out of the wire corn crib.  We definitely had (and still have) wild imaginations!

Farm yard layout to the east

Farm yard layout to the west
While there I had a chance to look at the abstract to reveal some history on the house.  As a preservationist, I have always been interested in the farm's past - speculating about the farmhouse, how large the farm was, and how it evolved over time.  Finally, I had some answers!

Loafing Shed

The land was originally sold to Ebenezer (yes, really) Staling in 1855 by the United States government.  Staling sold the land in 1902 to the Marshalls.  I speculate that the Marshalls built the house - a two-story modest cube that had lead glass windows and a hip roof. 

The farm lost a big chunk of land in 1967 to the Iowa Department of Transportation for the construction of Interstate 35.  In the abstract, the interstate removed two corn cribs and a silo, and divided the farmland in half.  I was really interested in this piece of information because I never knew how large the farm originally was!  The Marshall family owned the land until the 1970s when it was sold to the Larry Reynolds, who sold the land to the east of the interstate to my grandparents in the late-1980s.

One of my favorite buildings at the farm is the barn.  I didn't remember how tall the gambrel-roof barn was! There were many afternoons spent roaming around in the hay loft, and coming up with great ways to attach a zip-line to fall into a pile of hay.  I never noticed when I was a kid the original hay hook that was inside.  I can imagine it being the 1900s with men pitching hay in the hay loft. 


Inside the barn
My grandparents, with my parent's help, did a lot of updating to the farmhouse, including additions to three elevations, adding vinyl siding, and replacing most of the windows.  Because the farm is only a fragment of what it was originally and the updates were made to the house, it would never be eligible for the National Register.  Not that it really matters - the farm will always hold a very special place in my heart.  

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