News & Updates for the Maasdam Barns

News & Updates for Maasdam Barns

News & Updates for the Maasdam Barns, the Historic Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm, in Fairfield, IA

HOURS for spring, summer, & fall - Tuesdays & Thursdays 1pm-4pm,  Saturdays 10am-4pm.
The Maasdam Barns open on the 1st Tuesday in May, and close in the last week of October.
(Tours are available anytime of the year by appointment.)

Note: The Maasdam Barns are on the new Iowa Culture App, from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Their website tells how to download or launch it.

Note: The June 2018 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine contains an chart presenting data about patents issued in the United States, which included - Louden Machinery Company ranked 10th in per capita patents issued 100 years ago - See it below.

Maasdam Barn News:

Mare Barn Lettering - Oct 27, 2018.   John Stimson painting the letters on the north side of the Mare Barn, after the barn had just been re-painted in September, covering over the previous letters painted on by John. The lettering is as close as we can get to what it looked like when this barn was part of the Maasdam and Wheeler partnership in the 1930's, doing business as the "Iowa Horse Importing Company". John found that using his truck was much easier than a ladder since he has to lean against the barn to steady his brush.
John Stimson lettering the Mare Barn

John Stimson lettering the Mare Barn


Fall Trail Drive Thru - Sunday,October 21, 2018, 11:00am -2:00pm. (Sponsored by the Jefferson County Conservation Board - report from JCCB). "The Annual Trail Drive Thru started off Hwy 1 at the Maasdam Barns. Drivers then followed the Loop Trail for three miles until they reached the Cedar View Trail. Once on the Cedar View Trail they headed west, crossed over the bypass and the Cedar Creek Bridge and exited at 223rd Street.
"Since the weather was dry, participants had the option of following 223rd St to Hackberry (dirt road) and out to Hemlock (all of which is part of Cedar View Trail.) This once-a-year drive-thru is a favorite for many people, especially those individuals who are not able to walk or bike our beautiful trails.
"Approximately 491 people, in 201 vehicles, took part on this beautiful sunny day, and it was our biggest year yet!   Although most cars were from Jefferson County we also had nine other counties represented and four other states (Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Nebraska)".







Oct 18, 2018 - Fairfield Chamber of Commence Business After Hours (4PM–7PM).   The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce holds a monthly Chamber Business After Hours networking event. The Business After Hours event invites the public, Chamber Members, guests and employees to learn about Fairfield's business community. For October, the Maasdam Barns was the host for 48 guests.


June 22, 2018 - Fairfield Chamber of Commence Barnyard Bash (5PM–9PM).   The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated our rich agriculture community!  The 2018 Barnyard Bash was presented by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau and Pilot Grove Savings Bank. See photos below.

This family friendly evening engaged the entire community! Entertainment began at 5:00pm, which included various area businesses with agriculture related booths and activities.
A  family friendly evening.

Of course, there was plenty of food available, along with booths and games.
Plenty of food available.

A mix of new and traditional country music with a hint of classic rock was played by the Harvest Band from 6:00-9:00pm.
A mix of new and traditional country music.

Bounce Houses, a display of tractors, horse drawn wagon rides, and many more displays and demonstrations took place throughout the evening.
Displays and demonstrations took place throughout the evening.


June 16, 2018 - Boys and Their Toys (10AM–3PM).  A variety of vintage and tractors and trucks were displayed at the Maasdam Barns. And a partial demonstration of the Louden Hay Carrier used a tractor (this time) to power the Hay Carrier. Also, the Centennial Building held demonstrations and food.

Vintage tractors later took a ride to show off.
Vintage tractors later took a ride.

Two of the vintage trucks - a Ford Model A pickup truck, and a 1918 Mack truck that drove here.
Two of the vintage trucks.

Linn Vehslage's Case tractor operating the rope for the Louden Hay Carrier.
Linn Vehslage's Case tractor.

The hay bale entering the Stallion Barns's loft.
Hay bale entering the Stallion Barn.


June 6, 2018 - Power Wagon Trail Drive (1PM–3PM).  (The Power Wagon website has details of their 31st Annual Power Wagon Rally). Power Wagons drove along part of the Fairfield Loop Trail, ending at the Maasdam Barns. An estimated 150 people visitors watched a demonstration of how the Louden Hay Carrier operates in lifting straw bales up and into the Stallion Barn loft. For the first time, our demonstration used a winch mounted on a 1959 Dodge Power Wagon to move the lifting rope up and down (through four cycles). In the early days, horses were used to power the operation, and later, tractors.

Here come the Power Wagons down the Loop Trail to the barns!
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Turning into the barn yard from the Loop trail.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Just a few of the variety of Dodge Power Wagons.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Heading towards the activities in the Centennial Building.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Rope-making demonstration in the Centennial Building.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Louden Overhead Auto Hoist assembly in the Centennial Building. It rolls back and forth to the position you desire by pulling on the chain to the left.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Another pulley device lets you pick items up, and move things side to side. This hoist was used in an repair garage to lift engines in/out of cars and trucks.
More at the Louden Machinery Company Tour website.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Getting ready for demonstration of how the Louden Hay Carrier works in the Stallion Barn. The winch on the front of this 1959 Dodge Power Wagon will provide the power to the Hay Carrier. This winch works off the truck's PTO (not electric) to lift the bale, so a "driver" must be in the cab.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

The winch cable is attached to a rope, which goes through pulleys on the barn, then up to the Hay Carrier in the barn loft (getting ready).
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Clamping the hook onto the bales. More about the Hay Carriers at Louden hay Carrier webpage, and Louden Overhead Hoist webpage.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

The Power Wagon is winching the bales up.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

When the hook attaches to the carrier, the carrier gets pulled into the barn.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

After the workers in the barn trigger the carrier to drop the bales, the workers on the ground pull the carrier back outside, where the hook detaches from the carrier, and lowers down to pick up more bales.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

When the job is done, the winch pulls the door up to shut it.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

Dick Reed narrated the process for the spectators.
Power Wagons at the Barns.

The Power Wagon "driver" had to keep his foot on the brake when to load lift off the ground.
Power Wagons at the Barns.


June, 2018 - Interesting bit of news from the June 2018 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine - an chart presented data about patents issued in the United States, which included, Louden Machinery Company ranked 10th in per capita patents issued 100 years ago (page 19).

Smithsonian Magazine Patent Data.


May 12, 2018 - Babies at the Barns (10 am-2 pm). Family fun for everyone! Visitors interacted with baby farm animals and 4-H members.
Visitors at the barns
And children made their own rope!
Making rope.
Bigger babies, a burro and a pony, in the Mare Barn just for the day.
Baby horses.


May 10, 2018 - "Be a Visitor in Your Own Backyard", sponsored by the CVB, 5-7:30pm. Visitors enjoyed music, food from Sweet n Saucy, and tours of the barns and museum. And the chickens!
Visitors at the barns


Jan 04, 2018 - "Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog Names Fairfield to Best Place List.". Go to the Expedia website and scroll down to "Iowa Fairfield". The article includes - "Visit Maasdam Barns to learn about local draft horse history....".


Oct 22, 2017 - Trail Ride - Cars were allowed to drive, from 10am to 1pm, on a limited section of the Jefferson County Loop Trail. This allowed people to view part of the Loop Trail who would otherwise not be able to transverse it. The route began at the Maasdam Barns, where volunteers greeted 110 vehicles and gave about 144 drivers and passengers an orientation. The Trail Ride was sponsored by the Jefferson County Conservation Board, who maintains this section of the Loop Trail.
Visitors at the barns


Sept 30, 2017 - Persons who volunteer at the Maasdam Barns were treated to a visit the private Steve Weeber Museum, which included a guided tour by Steve Weeber, who is a member of the North American Hay Tool Collectors Association.


Saturday, June 17, 2017 - Boys & Toys Truck & Tractor Show. Old trucks, and a variety of tractors, were displayed at the Maasdam Barns on Saturday. See our photo essay.


May 13, 2017 - Babies at The Barns - FAMILY FUN FOR ALL AGES!   Guests experienced the joys of baby farm animals provided by our local 4-H families, including a two-month old Clydesdale foul (left in the photo, the mother is to the right).
Babies at the barns


June 9, 2016 - Dodge Power Wagons visit the Maasdam Barns   View a photo essay of the Dodge Power Wagons at the Barns as part of the 29th Annual Vintage Dodge Power Wagon Rally, held every year in Fairfield.
Power wagons at the Barns


Leon Connelly took some videos of horses pulling plows in our field at the Maasdam Barns, June 2016.


Community Improvement Award, Apr 8, 2016

"Maasdam Barns/Museum/Welcome Center" received a Community Improvement Award (sponsored by Foss, Kuiken and Cochran, P.C.) from the Fairfield Area Chamber Of Commerce during its annual Awards Banquet on April 8, 2016. This award recognizes Chamber Member Businesses that have demonstrated a marked contribution to community improvement during 2015. Fairfield Community School District also received this award

The Annual Awards Banquet is the premier event of the year for the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Chamber members and the Fairfield community. Every award the Chamber hands out is designed to recognize investment and innovation on the part of Fairfield business and community institutions, be it capital improvements, resource redeployment, new media, or lifelong accomplishment. The Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet is about celebrating progress in our community.

In addition, one of our tireless volunteers, Dr. Larry Nash, was presented with the 2016 Outstanding Citizen Community Service Award (sponsored by Libertyville Savings Bank), recognizing citizens of the Fairfield area that have contributed to the betterment of community life, based on their record of voluntary service. Nancy Horras was also a recipient. More details on the Chamber Of Commerce website.


Construction of the new Storage Building is complete Sept 24, 2015

Click here to see a photo essay.
New storage building


(Sept 19, 2015)  Maasdam Barns wagon at Kiwanis Kids Day Parade.  Photos by Linn Vehslage.
Doug Smith provided his horse-drawn wagon and horses, sponsored by the Maasdam barns.


The First National Bank of Fairfield held their 150th Anniversary Celebration here, Aug 13, 2015.
Click here for more photos by Werner Elmker.
First National Bank Celebration


Southeast Iowa Museum Crawl, June 14, 2014.  Four museums were featured on this year's Museum Crawl.  Maasdam Barn activities included a "put up hay" demonstration and hay rides pulled by horses, among others. Don Cummings, Chairman of the Maasdam Barns Preservation Committee, estimated that about 300 visitors attended.
  See photos here.   new icon   Click here to view a narrated YouTube video of Louden Hay Carrier equipment.


Quilt project, Oct 29, 2013.  The Quilt Project has been completed. Quilts were one of the popular folk arts during the Maasdam era.

To celebrate this, a project was begun to show a quilt, and other items, hanging on a clothesline next to the Museum.  Aluminum panels were chosen for their durability, and show photos of a quilt, socks, a baby's dress, and a panel explaining quilting traditions.  See photos here.


Farm Crawl News, July 5, 2013.  KTVO News had video coverage of the Hometown Harvest Farm Crawl, including an interview with Don Cummings (no longer available on KTVO website).

Chickens, May 25, 2013.  Our chickens have taken up residence in the Chicken Coop - see more photos here.

Award Received, May 21, 2013.  The Fairfield Beautification Commission, in cooperation with Jefferson County Historic Preservation Commission, presented the Rose Award to the Maasdam Barns Preservation Committee, for preservation of a local historic district and creation of a visitors center with museum displays.
Rose Award Presentation

Barns opened May 11, 2013.  KTVO News presented a report of the season opening of the Maasdam Barns, including an interview with Jim Salts (no longer available on KTVO website).

An article in the April 2013 Smithsonian Magazine lists Fairfield, IA, as number 7 of 20.  Read the The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013 article online, where the Maasdam Barns are mentioned.

New exterior sign.  A new sign was installed in front of the Museum, along Highway 1.  The small "Open" sign can be flipped down to "Closed".  Made possible in part by an Iowa Humanities grant.
Exterior sign

Barns on KTVO-TV, May 1, 2012. Kate Allt's report is no longer on the KTVO webpage.


Snowstorm in Feb 2012,  by Ginny Hughes.  See more.
Snow storm

Volunteer of the year,  Dec 8, 2011.  Details.

Open House,  Oct 7 & 8, 2011.  Photos.
Horse sign

Then & Now photo comparison page is now here.

Getting ready,  Sept 24, 2011.  Photos.

McCombs Lane,  Sept 23, 2011.  The story.
McCombs Lane

Welcome Center exhibits,  Sept 7, 2011.  See photos.

Volunteer work,  July & August, 2011.  See photos.

Volunteers,  June 11, 2011
More volunteer work, and updates.  See photos.
Show Barn

Volunteers,  May 14, 2011
During this rainy Saturday the Show Barn gets cleaned up and the Welcome Center interior gets attention.  See photos.

Update,  April 24, 2011
Progress was made over the winter -- the driveway and parking lot, the Welcome Center sidewalk-ramp, and on the restrooms.  See more photos.

Show Barn,  January, 2011
Contractors installed a new cupola for the Show Barn, and replaced the roof shingles.  Old photos show a cupola on the barn, but it was removed at some point, so a new one was built to match the photos.  See more photos. (Also includes volunteer work on this barn in previous years).
Installing the show barn steeple

Jan 5, 2011, Restoration Work,  Jan 5, 2011
Read a story in the Fairfield Ledger - Restoration work returns original look to historic barn. For the complete article, see the Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, printed edition of The Fairfield Ledger, or our Restoration News Page.

Welcome Center,  Nov 2010
More work needs to be completed inside -- a timetable has not been established.  Some work will be handled by contractors, but much of the labor will continue to be performed by volunteers.
A photo essay of the renovation progress on the Welcome Center itself is on-going -- see it at the Welcome Center page.

Infrastructure work,  Sept-Nov 2010
In September 2010 a contractor started construction on the infrastructure. The project includes driveways and a parking lot, a ramp and sidewalks for the Welcome Center, and the foundation for a new garage.  Extra dirt from the work will be used to complete the filling-in of the old farm pond.

During the winter the dirt along the Welcome Center will be allowed to settle, before a sidewalk is constructed.  This will allow stair-less entry onto the front porch and hence into the building through the front door.   Photo essay here.
New parking lot construction

See more photos of painting the storage garage in 2010.
Painting the storage garage

Information Sign,  Sept 2010
A large sign was installed next to the barns. One side has a full-size photo of the World's Largest Horse and the other side tells you about the Maasdam Barns complex.  See photos of the sign and of the construction of the frame.


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Link to Louden Machinery Company website.

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Updated 12-14-18.
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