Moving a Barn in 1949: A Big Job

Moving a Barn in 1949: A Big Job

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Moving a barn is a very big job — especially if it happens to be the year 1949.

The big red barn here at Clucky Dickens Farm was built in 1918—we knew that much when we moved here in 2011. But we’d heard a rumor the barn was not built on our farm, but was instead hauled here many years ago in one piece from a property a couple miles away.

I didn’t quite believe it. I mean, how do you go about moving a barn in rural America in the 40s?

Then I was blessed with a book of old pictures from one of the gents who actually grew up on this farm.

Moving a Barn in 1949 - A Farmish Kind of Life

Moving a barn: it’s a hard job, and someone had to do it.

In February of 1949, when the ol’ dirt roads were good and frozen solid, Big Red was somehow loaded up on a truck to move to its new location.

Moving a barn in 1949 - A Farmish Kind of Life

Long, thick beams were stuck through the width of the barn and out the windows. Up she went…and down the road. Moving a barn was a slow process, especially when the truck had to try and make the corners of the road.

The truck that was carrying her actually had to be fixed at one point and so Big Red just hung out in the road (on the truck) for a couple days.

Moving a barn in 1949 - A Farmish Kind of Life

Apparently that was just fine and dandy in rural Minnesota in 1949.

Moving a barn: So glad she made it!

I’m glad she made it to her current spot. (These pictures show there used to be a second barn here. See it off to the right?)

Moving a barn in 1949 - A Farmish Kind of Life

The photo album I was given showed many pictures of moving the barn, but it also contained so many wonderful photos of the barn that used to be on the property, electric coming to the farm, changes to the homestead, his parents, even the original farmhouse.

Can you say best. farm-warming. present. ever?

 

It’s hard to describe the connection that is felt when you are handed a book of pictures that shows the black and white history of the place you now call home, by someone who called it home long ago.

But I can say this: when a gentleman stands in the yard of his childhood home and says to you, “Gosh, you remind me so much of my mom,”….

Moving a Barn in 1949 - A Farmish Kind of Life

…you know you’re in the right place. You’ve found the place you belong.

Moving a barn today is one thing. Moving a barn in 1949? A totally different story. Read the amazing story about how our barn ended up at our farm.

Are you a homesteader? Check out some of my favorite homesteading pieces.

7 Truths to Know Before You Start Homesteading

When You Get the Life You Wanted…

Why You are a Homestead Expert

Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens

Do you homeschool? So do we! Check out my book — The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.



27 thoughts on “Moving a Barn in 1949: A Big Job”

  • Wow! I am speechless by the generosity of the former resident, the amazing feat of moving a whole BARN and that you look like his mom! Wow! Just WOW!

  • That is an amazing story and one that squeezed my heart. I actually got tears in my eyes when reading the last paragraph. The values, the work ethic, the "can do" attitude of the days prior to the 1970s . . . we would all be in a much better place if we could somehow return to them.

    What a treasure to have those photos of your farm and memories of folks who lived there! It's as if you've been chosen to carry on the history there.

  • Using an old lantern for front door lighting adds a lot of character. This home in Old Deerfield even has an old lantern shelf, which is an unusual touch. Could be a maintenance nightmare, but I love the look.

  • I used our Vintage Style White Ware Vases as place cards for a recent dinner party. They were a huge hit. I put a special quotation on the back of each one. You can whip the labels up on the computer and tie them on with bakers twine. Super simple.

  • Our new Vintage Style Enamel Containers have so many uses, but they also look great on display. The enamel containers are reminiscent of those found in old country kitchens. These retro storage bins each have a lid, making them easy to stack. Each container has a slightly distressed white enamelware finish with black trim and natural markings and imperfections. Food safe. Available in three sizes.

  • Fall and Flies

    Even though fall is here, we're still enjoying the tastes of summer with this freshly harvested watermelon from our garden. The screen food cover sure comes in handy this time of year. The flies keep sneaking into my kitchen. I'm sure this old farmhouse offers a million easy entries for the little buggers.
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  • Great pictures. Whenever my Mom (84 years old) talks about all the new computer stuff and how people use it too much I ask her if she would have given up electricity when it came to the farm. Her immediate response is “no way”. Her favorite saying is she had running water before that, she ran to the pump and ran it back to the house.

  • Great post- We lived for 15 years in a former one room schoolhouse in New Hampshire that at one time stood across the corner. We had heard they moved it on logs by oxen power.

  • Loved the story! We’ve lived on our farm for almost 34 years and have changed or taken down all the original buildings. Recently, a woman who was born and raised here gave me a number of pictures of how it was back in the late 30’s. I have also got some old aerial photos of what it was like before we came.

  • I’ve been gone awhile and loved catching up on all your adventures! This post made me teary eyed… I always want to visit the farm I grew up on when I come home to MN but never do. The new owners have city commuting renters there now that I’m sure wouldn’t appreciate all my stories :). This is a beautiful post!

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