Lass Round Barn Farms
Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Our farm was purchased by Nancy’s grandparents, Earl and Lizzie Dickinson, in 1934. Her dad, Carroll, and her uncle, Merle were 5 and 7 years old at the time. They milked cows for many years in the round barn in addition to growing corn and soybeans. Merle and Carroll both served in the Army. Merle returning home to teach school, marry Phyllis Fenton, and raise three daughters. Carroll married his high school sweetheart, Winifred Hendrickson, returned to farming and milking, and raised their daughter, Nancy, on the farm. You would more often find Nancy out on a tractor or up in a tree than in the house.
When Nancy and John married they moved many times with John’s job in the telephone industry. From Iowa to Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New York and Minnesota, before retiring to the farm. Their sons Ben and Jordan always loved visiting Gramma & Grampa and riding in the big John Deere tractors and combine!
When Carroll retired from farming he started cash renting the ground to Mike and Ann Brown. Nancy and John continue that partnership and friendship today.
In the early years Earl had a little red and orange to go along with the green tractors, but Carroll went more for the John Deere green, right down to the lawn mowers and a snowmobile! Nancy and John still run John Deere for the loader and mowers, but they’ve added some color to their collection of antique tractors. Besides the 1967 JD3020, a 1937 unstyled John Deere B, and a 1942 styled John Deere B, they have a 1958 Ford 800 and recently restored John’s grandfather’s 1936 Allis Chalmers WC.
As you might have assumed from the name, they do indeed have a round barn. It was built in 1912 when the popularity of round barns was on the rise. The barn is 60′ in diameter with a silo in the middle. The walls were constructed with locally sourced hollow clay tile block. The roof has always been cedar shake shingles. The round barn was very efficient for those early milking years. Cows would face the center around half of the barn when they were in their stantions to be milked. They were fed and watered out of the center silo, water thank at the top of the silo, and hay and oats from the hay mow. Calf pens were on the other half of the barn. As production and machinery grew over the years other buildings on the farm took over and the round barn fell into disrepair. Nancy and John were able to restore the barn, a process that took 4 years, from 2005-2009. Now it’s a great venue for family celebrations!