The barn is a part of the farm’s history
PATON — The barn that stands on the Dan and Susan Tronchetti farm has some peculiar history to it including a story that regards the final resting place of a prized horse.
Dan Tronchetti said there were four Petersen brothers who made their way to Greene County from Madison County. It is believed they bought the land at a sheriff’s auction and started making improvements to the farm — building the barn in 1933 and the house the Tronchettis call home in 1937.
Tronchetti said the brothers began accumulating more land in the area and were also breeders of Percheron purebred draft horses.
“The tale is a grand champion is buried in one of the stalls of the barn,” he said.
Dan Tronchetti’s parents, Louie and Neva Tronchetti, bought the farm from the two brothers that were the owners, Bill Petersen and Rudolph Petersen, in1975. Dan and Susan Tronchetti moved to the farm in 1979.
Bill and Rudolph Petersen’s initials stamped with a horseshoe can still be seen in the concrete on the south end of the barn.
The 40-by-70-foot barn is a “good straight barn,” according to Tronchetti and features four stallion stalls that are 16 by 16 feet and feature heavy iron barns and heavy wooden doors on the north end.
Tronchetti said they have tried to do some research on the barn and believe it was a catalog barn from either Sears, Gordon Van-Tine Company of Davenport or Aladdin.
“We believe it is a Sears kit barn and we have been told the kit came in on railroad cars and they used draft horses and wagons to bring it out to the farm from Paton,” he said.
The pieces, Tronchetti said, appear to have been prefitted before it was packed and sent. The beams show chisel marks from when it was all pieced together using wooden peg construction.
“I can’t imagine making everything fit, but, I am sure, like a modern contractor, they had their little tricks,” he said.
The large metal ventilator that sits on top of the barn, Tronchetti said, was supposedly hoisted to the top with ropes and pulleys via a draft horse.
“I am just in awe they built this without a telehandler and how they got everything into place,” he said.
During Tronchetti’s time at the farm, the family has mainly used the barn for their 4-H projects.
“Our two daughters, Laura and Lisa, used it for quarter horses when they were in 4-H and our son, Brad, he had the south end set up for 4-H calves,” he said.
Currently, the barn is being used for storage of miscellaneous items.
Although they don’t use the barn for much, Tronchetti has done the maintenance necessary to keep the barn in great shape.
They hired Streit Construction, of Gowrie, to put a new steel roof on the barn in 2001. In 2009, Phil Bechen, with Central State Painting, of Fort Dodge, put a fresh coat of white paint on the barn.
“It’s been solid, other than we did have a little water damage from not maintaining the downspouts and rain gutters, but once we got them back into shape and made a few minor repairs, it’s a good solid barn,” he said.
Tronchetti said there are several reasons why they have chosen to take care of their barn.
“A lot them have been torn down, we made the decision it is a part of the history of the farm and we wanted to maintain it,” he said. “It’s important — the history and reason they built it. But, it’s for me, it’s the memories from when our son was 10 years old, and he was born in 1983 and our daughter, who was born in 1989 until she was 20 we had animals in there. For almost 20 years we came out to take care of animals together.”