150-Year-Old Mingo Barn on the Move

MINGO, Iowa  --  The last standing remnant of the Cleverley family farm was moved on Tuesday afternoon.

“A barn like that, that is built out of solid oak and doweled, not nailed, it’s a rare commodity in Iowa,” said Larry Cleverley, owner of the barn.

The barn was built in the 1870s and is part of the original family farm. It was moved on Wednesday to make way for an intersection on Highway 330. Cleverley fought the Iowa Department of Transportation for years in an effort to save his family's farm.

“Obviously with the struggles I’ve had with DOT, I’ve got no love in my heart for those guys,” said Cleverley. “I just think there is too much of Iowa’s past that has disappeared. A lot of that is thanks to the DOT.”

The move will cost the state just under $30,000. Goodwin House Moving, the company in charge of transporting the complex, says the key to moving it is patience.

“Yup, just nice and slow. Keep it just how it was and we will put it back just like it was,” said Chris Reighard.

There is a substantial amount of dry-rot that has reduce the integrity of the structure, so even a little bump could bring it down. Reighard estimates it took about 15 minutes to move the structure 550 yards.

Cleverley says this isn’t the first time the barn has been moved, but hopefully it’s the last.

“The diagonal highway, which is now Hwy 330, was built in 1935. The barn sat in the middle of the Marshalltown-bound lane. So when the DOT built the highway, they had to move it. When we were in our negotiations, I told them it would be poetic justice they move it again, and they agreed to do it,” said Cleverley.

He says the plan is to refurbish the barn and use it to host events.