Mathis Family Farm
Recognition Award Winner
Year of Award: 1998
Original Use: Dairy, Equipment Storage
Current Use: Hay
In 1989, David and Karen Mathis purchased the Mathis Family Farm, which has been in the family for more than 100 years and has been recognized as an Iowa Century Farm. The centerpiece of the farm is the 90-year-old, gambrel-roofed barn, topped by three decorative wooden cupolas. The 100' by 40' barn was originally built to house horses and registered Angus cattle, and was later converted for milking cows. David and Karen removed the stanchions and most of the pens to convert it once again, this time to a loafing barn for custom raising of dairy calves in the summer and Angus livestock in the winter.
The huge haymow, which was built to store 175 wagon loads of loose hay, now stores small bales on one side and large round bales on the other side. The Mathis' reinforced a section of the floor of the barn to hold the weight of the large bales. The former milk house is now used as a feed room and storage area.
David and Karen did most of the work themselves, although they left the painting of the barn to a professional. They figure they have spent about $2,500 on the barn, plus lots of their own labor. "We wanted to preserve this beautiful structure, not only for us, but also for our children, neighbors and passersby," says Karen.