Neighbor Gives Barn as Birthday Present

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By Ellen Kurt

ATKINS, Iowa - A lot more than wrapping paper went in to a birthday gift for a popular Benton County farm.

It took six men from Wisconsin to deliver the gift from a neighbor. Most people don't usually see a tractor pulling a barn through an Iowa corn field.

This week, a crew moved an entire barn to Bloomsbury Farm in Atkins.

"I've been driving past this barn for 28 years and I've always just loved this barn," Karen Petersen, Bloomsbury Farm Owner, said. "It was so beautiful and I always dreamed about having a barn like it."

It's hard to tell without a bow, but the barn is actually a birthday present for Karen Petersen at Bloomsbury Farms. An idea that came after a summer storm damaged the barn last year.

"When the decision came that something needed to be done with it, I suggested it be Karen's birthday present. And I don't think I've ever given such a big birthday present in my life," Bunny Fritch, Peterson's neighbor, said.

Petersen's birthday was last August, but it took months to plan the half-mile move. Using steel beams, the 70-foot structure moved at just 2-miles an hour. Now, Petersen plans to restore the barn to its original state.

"We hate to see old barns destroyed. You know, you drive around the countryside and you see these old barns falling apart so we're really glad to preserve this," Peterson said.

Bloomsbury Farms will rent out the barn for weddings and other events. They hope to have it open in the fall.

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