Family makes old farmhouse their own

A holiday visit highlighted the site

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Gabe, Maddi and Lucy Heun stand outside of their 1901 farmhouse. The couple purchased the home in 2012.

DAYTON — While enjoying Christmas lights on a rural farm near Dayton on a date several years ago, a young couple admired the farm they were touring.

At that time, they never imagined they would be living there, raising a family.

Fast forward to 2016, when an opportunity arose for Gabe and Maddi Heun to purchase the farm and they took it.


The farm, which is located in Burnside Township in Webster County, was originally homesteaded in 1892 by the Bergman family that had immigrated from Sweden. They named their new farm “Berries and Bees” as honey, raspberries, strawberries and mulberries were produced and sold on the farm.

-Submitted photo
The Heuns have made their dining room welcoming to all visitors.

They built a house at that time, as well as other outbuildings, including a large barn.

The 1892 house later became a storage shed and was removed in the 1960s.

The family built a much larger house in 1901.

Throughout the generations, the home had remained in the family, making its way through descendents of Bergmans to Rosenquists who owned the farm prior to the Heuns.

Gerald and Marcia Rosenquist bought the farm in 1962 and changed the name to Meadow Creek Farm.

-Submitted photo
The kitchen inside the Heuns’ 1901 farmhouse has been the centerpiece of the home not only for them but for the families that have lived in the home before them.

In 1969, a tornado destroyed all of the original buildings except for the two houses. The 1901 house had extensive damage and was literally cabled together to straighten it. During the next six years Gerald and Marcia Rosenquist had the house raised for a new basement and the house interior was completely gutted and remodeled.

The couple later passed away in 2015 and their daughters sold the acreage to the Heuns.

Knack Creek Farm

After the Heuns purchased the farm they made it a working farm right away, fencing in their pasture and raising cattle, sheep, pigs and bees.

Currently, Gabe Heun raises row crops and livestock and manages sites for Iowa Select Farms.

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
This 1901 farmhouse near Dayton is currently owned by Gabe and Maddi Heun. The Heuns work to keep up the farm making improvements as needed.

Maddi Heun is a speech-language pathologist and together, the couple is raising their daughter, Lucy, on their farm.

The Heuns have been working to make the farm and farmhouse their own with upkeeps and renovations made to help fit their tastes and needs.

Along with an old farmhouse, always comes a lot of work, but Maddi Heun said she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“You can make a farmhouse your own,” she said. “Every nook and cranny has its own personality and its own character. It is the most peaceful place to be.”

From a creek that runs on the property and a small home decor business the couple operates together, came the name Knack Creek Farm.

Gabe and Maddi Heun restore and create pieces from used items they find on their farm.

“We are able to use old wood, restore it and bring it back to life,” said Maddi Heun.

Work continues on the farm

The Heuns plan to make updates to their farmhouse as needed as well as keeping up on the repairs of their outbuildings.

The couple also puts in a lot of time tending to the several gardens that feature perennials, trees and shrubs that were originally planted by the Rosenquists.

“Some refer to farm life as living simple, but as we all know, there’s nothing simple about farm life. There is always something to be done,” Maddi Heun said.


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